Let’s have something to celebrate in the midst of all the mayhem, shall we? The restoration and protection of our stained-glass windows was completed this week. They look fantastic.
First of all, let us acknowledge that we have these great windows in the first place because the people who built our parish, the parishioners who were here when the church went up in 1958, made the sacrifice to obtain them. They built the church in 1958, and within three years, by 1961, twenty-two windows had been paid for and installed. You know that the people who lived here did not have excess wealth, but they considered the beautification of their church to be a priority.
Last year, I received a bequest left to Saint Bernadette by Raymond and Margaret Watson. They were parishioners for years, living in Hillandale; Ray died in 2007, and Margaret followed him in 2016 (at the age of 99!) I remember them both well; gracious people who were regularly at Mass. They loved this parish, and provided for her in their will.
Their executor, Steven Hill, came to me last summer with the check for $218,220.31. We talked a bit about possible uses for the money, but there were no strings attached. We left it undecided. After six months had passed, and our Capital Campaign for the improvement of the church was so successful and so many had pledged, it struck me that we could use a high-impact project to reveal how much beauty we have in our church while we waited for the promised donations to come in to fund the work of the campaign. Looking out my office window, I saw the gray, blank Lexan covers over our windows and realized what it should be.
It started way back in February, talking about it with our Finance Council and taking proposals from various contractors. The work concluded just this week. Lamb Studios of New Jersey worked for six and a half weeks, taking forty panels back to their studio for repair or replacement. Campbell Gibbons abated the asbestos in the glazing in about four weeks.
The entire project cost $196,100, clearly more than we could have afforded without this bequest. That would have taken one-fifth of the resources from our capital campaign. But because of the love of this one couple for their parish and ours, generations of parishioners and visitors can enjoy these windows. Last Sunday I offered the 11:00 Sunday Mass for the intentions of Raymond and Margaret Watson; I invite you to pray for them as well, in gratitude for their gracious care for us and our spiritual home.
Please remember Saint Bernadette in your will, too. But know that you needn’t wait that long; by your participation in the Capital Campaign, or by a specified donation like we received for our tabernacle this summer, your offering for the beauty of the church where we worship can help give glory to God in Four Corners, and lead souls to the truth, beauty, and goodness of the Faith the God has given us in Christ made present in His Church. That will be worth celebrating at any time, under any circumstances, and for generations to come.