Visitors from all around Morrow County streamed into Sacred Hearts Catholic Church last Thursday to wonder at the beauty of the new building.
It is just two years since the Thanksgiving Day fire totally destroyed their church, and Sacred Hearts Parishioners welcomed the community to their Open House with enthusiasm.
Parishioners Ginny and Bill Schindley greeted visitors at the front door of the sanctuary and tours of the church were given by Kim Janick and Joanne Bower. Both Janick and Bower have worked in planning many details of the new church with a committee and the architect. Visitors could feel their pride and awe as they pointed out special features of the building.
Janick said the main contractor for the building is Corna Kokosing and they worked to have as many local sub-contractors as possible. The local parish Knights of Columbus made the pedestals and crosses for the Stations of the Cross and helped with other building details. Steve Strauss of Logan, Ohio did the woodwork on the Altar and pedestals and pews were done by a woodcarver from Tennessee.
Janick said she worked with the architect on the Altar design that features a relief of the Last Supper. Many visitors stood looking with amazement at the statues of Jesus, Mary and Father Damien that have a place of honor in the sanctuary. They were made in Oberammergau, Germany by renowned woodcarver, Johannes Albl and are carved from Linden wood.
Another detail Janick shared was the origin of the Stations of the Cross. They were made in 1940 and come from a church in New Jersey that has since been destroyed.
Janick said she spent every day at the church as it was being built and expressed gratitude for Architect, William Heyer of Columbus who is a graduate of Notre Dame University and has studied in Rome. Heyer is also Adjunct Professor of Sacred Architecture at Joshephinum College in Columbus. She said Heyer calls the church “Roman Traditional” and wants it to be a “beacon on the hill” for the community.
Parish Priest, Father John Bakle said the rebuilding of the church “brought the parish together.” The capital campaign raised over one million dollars from contributions both locally and around the country.
“When tragedy struck, the parish pulled together,” Bakle stated. Father Bakle said he was in the hospital for heart surgery when he received a call from the Bishop of the Diocese saying the parish had reached its goal and the diocese would cover the balance.
Bower noted that only three things had been saved from the burned wreckage of the old church. They are the relics from the saints that are now in the new Altar, the Statue of Joseph outside and the repaired Cross at the top of the new church building.
When everything was finished and in place Bower said she and Kim (Janick) “breathed a sigh of relief that it all came together.”
“It’s good to be home again,” Janick said. She really appreciated the Cardington School welcoming them to use the school building, but it’s great to be in their new church home.
Parishioners Pat Thomas and Erin Kelty welcomed visitors to the Monsignor Charles Foeller Social Hall where the church will continue their monthly Saturday breakfasts and have coffee and donuts after mass.
“We will be able to do even more as a parish,” said Father Bakle. “We thank God for his goodness.”
More photos with this story can be seen on www.morrowcountysentinel.com.
Alberta Stojkovic is a correspondent with the Morrow County Sentinel and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.