DAVEY (SNR) - An exterior improvement project was recently completed at St. Mary Church in Davey.
Goals for the project were to improve safety, provide better access to the church for the disabled, and accentuate the historic beauty of the 93-year-old church. The centerpiece of the project was the restoration of the steps and hand railings leading to the main entrance of the church. It is believed that no major work had been done to the steps in more than 50 years. After years of service, the steps were cracked and broken and most of the anchors for the railings had rusted and broken off.
The project was begun by pastor Father Joseph Bernardo, but he was reassigned to St. Leo Parish in Palmyra in June. Father Patrick Barvick replaced Father Bernardo and continued with the scheduled improvements. A committee of parishioners helped guide the planning and construction of the project.
Funding for the improvements were provided by proceeds returned to the parish from the Joy of the Gospel Campaign and a grant from the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association.
Other major improvements completed this summer as part of the project included replacing broken, narrow sidewalks, renovating the landscaping around the church, and establishing two designated handicap parking stalls. Father Barvick said the committee made establishing handicap stalls a priority because they hated the thought that someone may stop coming to Mass because they are not physically able to get into the church.
For the landscaping, an emphasis was placed on using materials that would have been available at the time the church was constructed in 1923. Father Barvick and the committee wanted the improvements to preserve the church’s history and not detract from the original beauty of the church.
“We are just the current caretakers of the church,” said committee member Tim Gokie. “The church was here long before us and, God willing, it will be here long after we are all gone.”