Capital drive under way for St. Mary’s work

Capital drive under way for St. Mary’s work

The Westerly Sun

STONINGTON — The capital campaign underway at St. Mary’s Church will fund improvement projects that will enhance the aesthetics of the property and update some of the aging features of the building.

Father Dennis Perkins said it all started last summer when people began noticing that the carpeting in the nave and sanctuary was stained from more than 50 years of use. Shortly after, a small committee formed to brainstorm about some of the facility’s needs and prioritize what needed to get done sooner rather than later.

“We talked about what the long-range plan for the church is,” said Juan O’Callahan, one of the committee members. “We talked about what has to get done and what we’d like to see done. At first we thought we’d raise $150,000 but realized we’d need closer to $250,000 to get all of these projects done.”

So far, the committee has decided that fixing leaks in the steeple and repainting it and improving the appearance of the sanctuary and nave are the most important projects at the moment.

Some of the interior updates to the sanctuary that have been done so far include repainting the statues and stations of the cross and adding some gold leafing and venetian plaster to the ornamental screen at the back of the alter.

So far, $178,000 has been raised. Perkins said the congregations of both St. Mary’s and St. Michael the Archangel in Pawcatuck, congregates of which have been worshiping at St. Mary’s during the reconstruction of St. Michael, have responded positively to requests for donations.

In the future, members of the committee hope to repaint the entire interior of the church, clean up the 50-plus year-old terrazzo flooring that was uncovered when the carpet was removed, fix the front steps and repair the sidewalks around the property. Once the flooring is cleaned up, the pews will be moved so that churchgoers have more room when kneeling.

“It went from being quite stark and cold in here to having a bit more color and life,” Perkins said. “Once we paint the whole interior and replace the florescent bulbs with LED’s, it’ll be even more welcoming. This has been a great restoration where all of the parishioners have collaborated and offered input. It’s nice to see this work getting done and it’s going to look really good when it’s all done.”


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