The first day St. John of Rochester’s new streaming camera went live, its video wound up on the national news.
"NBC Nightly News" picked up the parish’s video of the Jan. 29 funeral service for members of the Doohan family. This funeral included Tyler Doohan, the fourth-grader who was killed in an East Rochester fire while attempting to save his family members.
Father Peter Clifford, pastor of St. John of Rochester, said the new video system helps to bring the church to people who cannot physically be there.
"That’s just a tremendous service for people," Father Clifford said. "Whether it’s a funeral or a wedding, perhaps family or friends cannot get to our (church) site and are now able to go on our website and watch and see it as it happens."
The parish’s new live-streaming capability had just been installed at the church as part of a $2.5 million renovation project that covered 6,000 square feet at the Fairport parish.
As part of the renovations and additions, the parish built a new narthex, which is a gathering area, to allow for better movement into and out of the church. It also added wheelchair access to the sanctuary and sacristy, replaced carpeting, installed new pews that allow the church to seat up to 900, updated the air conditioning systems, and improved lighting and sound systems. The project also added storage space, new roofing, a music practice room and a new gathering room kitchen.
Other improvements at the parish were aesthetic: The parish added a new stained-glass window to the narthex and a colorful mosaic that was mounted behind the altar. Both were created by Valerie O’Hara of Pike Stained Glass Studios in Rochester.
A new altar, ambo and chairs for the presider, deacon and servers were designed and built by furniture craftsman John Dodd of John Dodd Studio in South Bristol, who also designed furniture for Sacred Heart Cathedral. Additionally, a new pedestal was made for the parish’s statue of St. John Fisher, which originally was at St. Bernard’s Seminary and was purchased when the seminary closed. A parishioner who is a fine woodworker also refashioned the existing altar into the parish’s daily Mass altar.
The parish also commissioned Parsons Pipe Organ Builders of Canandaigua to remanufacture a three-manual and pedal and 27-rank organ from existing organ parts from a church that closed in Altoona, Pa. Parsons created a new structure, wind system, solid-state system and revoiced the existing pipework.
The church will host a Scripture and organ concert at 7 p.m. May 2 featuring guest organist E. Louis Canter.
Father Clifford said the roots of the renovations are in the parish’s recent celebration of its 50th anniversary.
"We linked it to the anniversary," Father Clifford said. "When I arrived here six-and-a-half years ago, various people began telling me about one thing or another that demanded attention. I made a mental list, and as time went on, other needs and issues developed."
Several years ago, he brought the list to the parish trustees and finance council, which authorized a study that developed the renovation plan. The parish later prioritized the list based on needs and cost for the parish, Father Clifford said.
The parish has generously supported the renovation project, he added, undertaking a $2.2 million capital campaign in 2012 that eventually raised $2.5 million from 938 contributors.
Design and construction of the project was completed by LaBella Associates and LeChase Construction, respectively. Construction took place in 2013, and installations of the artwork and organ have continued through February and March.
"By Easter, it will all be complete," Father Clifford said.
Tags: Churches, Monroe County East