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Story by Tess Wahlmeier
DAVID CITY (SNR) - After years of planning, prayer, and hard work, St. Mary Church in David City is ready to house the Lord and Savior, and the people of the parish once again.
Months of renovations wrapped up Dec. 19 with the dedication of the church by Bishop James Conley.
Father Bernard Kimminau, pastor of St. Mary Parish and Assumption Parish in Appleton, said much of the preparation and exterior work was started by Msgr. Adrian Herbek, who ministered at the parish, Aquinas High School and surrounding area for more than 40 years before he retired.
The diocesan Joy of the Gospel campaign, which was designed to support Catholic schools, priest retirement, seminary education, and the new evangelization, also allowed parishes to raise money for special projects, such as this renovation.
Once work began on the inside of the church, Father Kimminau and his committee members started meeting with parishioners to analyze the needs of the church and the parish as a whole.
“It’s really like the presence of the Holy Spirit just guiding us through it,” Father Kimminau said. “It was a lot of work by the committee and by the volunteers, but the support of the people was huge in what they were willing to step up and give toward this project.”
One of the initial requests from parishioners was to move the tabernacle from the side of the sanctuary back to the center of the church. In moving the tabernacle, they also came upon an altar of repose that fit the church’s architecture completely. Once that was acquired, Father Kimminau said, it became the foundation that led to many other things, with the help of Clark Architects Collaborative3.
The marble altar came from Holy Trinity Parish in Wilkes-Barre, Penn., and weighs almost 20 tons. It contains eight statues: a crucifix, John, Mary Magdalene and Mary, Peter, Paul, and two angels next to the tabernacle.
“The old Gothic style is absolutely gorgeous,” Father Kimminau said.
The church installed three murals. On one side is the patroness, the Blessed Virgin Mary. The other side, which also holds the baptismal font, depicts Jesus being baptized by John.
Behind the altar is a crucifixion scene with Mary Magdalene, Mary, and John, and behind that is a mural of the Ascension.
“Every Mass is the celebration of the Paschal Mystery,” Father Kimminau said. “In visual representation, we have the entire definition of what we celebrate in the Paschal Mystery at Mass – the passion and death represented in the crucifix and on the altar of sacrifice, His resurrection in the tabernacle and, again, on the altar when the Eucharist is confected by the priest, and then the last part, which most people forget, the ascension. We have that on the wall right behind the altar.
“So now, when we come to Mass, we have the visual reminders of what we’re celebrating at every Mass: our Lord’s passion, death, resurrection, and ascension.”
One of Father Kimminau’s biggest desires was to keep the renovations consistent with the Gothic architecture of the church. Throughout the renovations, they tried to bring back some of the style and decorations of the Gothic genre while keeping the original articles of the church.
The pews and other woodwork have all been stained darker, which accents the beautiful stained-glass windows. The ceiling has been painted and the arches recolored. Paint and plaster have been repaired, and new tile has been installed in the flooring. Better lighting and a new sound system have also been put in.
“We inherited this from the past generations, and now we want to make sure it’s around for future generations, too,” Father Kimminau said. “This process has gone a long way in making sure that the Catholic community continues to play a significant role in the lives of the people in this area and beyond.”