A Holy Renovation For Christmas

Pictured is the alter and pews in the foreground of the newly-renovated St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Glynwood.
By: 
JAKE DOWLING
Managing Editor

Just in time for Christmas, churchgoers at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Glynwood will be given a special present.

On Christmas Eve, St. Patrick’s will host Mass for the first time since the church began renovations in September as a way to better the look and stability of the 135-year-old historic church, located just northeast of St. Marys.

“With the church falling apart, we decided to redo the whole thing,” said Rev. Barry Stechschulte, a pastor for both Holy Rosary and St. Patrick’s Catholic churches.

The idea to renovate the church began earlier this year, with hopes of beginning the project in January through April, that idea then got pushed back to April through the summer. Finally, with everybody’s schedules working out this way instead, the project began in September and will be ready for Christmas Eve Mass on Monday. 

With construction going on, the church has not held Mass since mid-September.

“The parish council came together and I suggested repainting the church,” Stechschulte said. “Once we saw what the Brian Brothers did in Wapak, I knew I wanted to pick them.

“We picked Christmas so that the date gave us a time as to when we wanted to finish project. Christmas is when everyone comes back home and we thought that was an excellent time to have it completed.”

Brian Bros. Painting & Restoration from Piqua did much of the painting and redesigning, along with artists Anna and Michael Blanck of Blanck Studios in Ixonia, Wisconsin — who also played a huge role in the improvements of the Auglaize County Courthouse and the renovation of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wapakoneta in 2014.

The Brian Bros. were also the same company that restored St. Joseph’s in 2014 as part of the church’s 175th anniversary.

The entryway was remodeled before renovating the stained glass windows and tuck pointed the brickwork on the outside. New carpeting was also laid by Mel’s Carpet in Minster replacing the 45-year-old carpet.

“It has been a complete transformation,” Stechschulte said.

The statues that look over Stechschulte during Mass were all repainted — those statues being St. Patrick, St. Michael, St. Brigid of Ireland, Mary and Jesus.

The pews — originally from Holy Rosary and donated to St. Patrick’s in 1978 — were also refinished. New chairs were bought in the overflow seating area, lighting was improved and air conditioning was also added as part of the renovation.

The artwork on the ceiling is all original, but gold was painted around the artwork to enhance it. The painting of St. Patrick on the center of the ceiling was added by Blanck. Stechschulte estimated that the painting is 12 feet by 8 feet.

“There was a painting of St. Patrick up there, but it was so damaged and not savable,” he said. “Since it would have cost a lot more money to try to salvage it, they just did a new painting over it. That is really the centerpiece to the whole place.

“We now have degrees of style and a really nice look to it. This church is going to be here for a lot more years.” 

The first church in the Glynwood area was constructed in 1860 when it was called the St. Thomas Parish, which is now the St. Thomas Cemetery next door. St. Patrick was then built in 1883 in a Gothic Revival style and is one of many Catholic churches in the region known as the Land of the Cross-Tipped Churches.

The first renovation was in 1983 and was recognized before that in 1979 for its architecture by being added to the National Register of Historic Places.

St. Patrick’s is an active parish of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and its partnered with Holy Rosary as both churches are a part of the St. Marys Deanery. 

Stechschulte said the church receives around 100 to 200 families as part of its congregation. Mass is at 9:30 a.m. Sundays and 8 p.m. Thursdays.

“We fill it up,” he said. “We have a lot of strong farming families out here that really support the church. We have about 20 to 25 kids in the CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) program.”

No loan was needed to pay for the renovation as money was instead used from donations and savings that the parish had built up over the years. He even started a funding campaign on Facebook to raise money for the project.

Stechschulte said he plans on having 300 people in the church that seats about 250. Christmas Eve Mass will be at 4:30 p.m. and 9:30 a.m. on Christmas Day.

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