Columns testament to people's faith - Catholic Courier

Columns testament to people’s faith

SCOTTSVILLE — Given his recent efforts on behalf of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish, you could call Don Woerner a pillar of his community.

Woerner’s company, Tradition Wood Works Inc., has had a hand in pretty much all the woodwork found in the church, including its recently dedicated columns. According to Irene Goodwin, St. Mary’s pastoral administrator, Woerner and his family, which staffs the company, has donated most of its labor over the years to maintaining and upgrading the church’s woodwork.

“I’m a member of the parish,” Woerner said when asked why he donates so much labor to St. Mary’s. “When you’re a member of your parish, that’s what you’re supposed to do.” He added that his company has also done extensive woodwork in many Catholic and Protestant churches in the area.

Woerner’s not the only pillar of St. Mary’s — if you examine the renovated columns in the 151-year-old church, all save one contain a small plaque honoring people formerly and currently associated with the church, Goodwin said. Honorees included former pastoral administrators and pastors. Renovating the columns cost $70,000, and $30,000 of that came from an anonymous donor who asked that he be allowed to honor people by having plaques with their names placed on the columns, she said. Honorees also included Goodwin and her husband Bob. Goodwin chuckled when asked why she and her husband were so recognized by the donor.

“I think he was just being nice,” she said.

Goodwin said the columns needed work because they were somewhat crooked, but now they are now all “straight and beautiful.”

Woerner said work on the columns began about two years ago, and was completed before Easter of this year. The renovation work consisted of encasing the old pine wood columns in grout that was then surrounded by steel casings. Then Woerner’s company surrounded the casings with poplar wood exteriors, he said.

On Aug. 15, the parish held a blessing ceremony and ice-cream social to mark completion of the columns’ renovation. About 180 people attended, Goodwin said, including former priests assigned to the parish. The columns represent yet another step in the ongoing renovation work that has been taking place at St. Mary’s the past few years, she and Woerner said, noting the church also has replaced its altar, roof, sanctuary furniture and sanctuary back wall, balcony railing, and organ, they said. Woerner added that the parish is renovating its hall to make it accessible to people with handicaps, and Goodwin added that a Boy Scout troop is also helping with renovation work around the parish.

Both Woerner and Goodwin noted that whether the columns should be replaced was a subject of some debate in the parish, but in the end, everyone seemed to like the finished product. Woerner added that the columns are built to support the roof for a long, long time.

“You could drive a (large) truck up there,” he said with a chuckle.

He added that he likes the fact that he will be attending Mass in a church that is filled with his family’s work.

“It gives you a very good feeling and you know that many of these items are going to be there for 50 or 100 years,” Woerner said. “It’s kind of a legacy.”

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