If walls could talk … they’d say they’ve seen more activity going on in the rooms they surround than they have in years.
At least, that’s what the walls of the meeting house of Holy Cross Parish in Ovid might say.
More than a dozen parishioners have been spending a good portion of their evenings and weekends there lately, working to revitalize the century-old house, according to Phyllis Motill, the project’s coordinator.
“The idea is that a very lively part of church life is the community activity,” said Father William Winters, OFM Cap., pastor of Holy Cross and Interlaken’s St. Francis Solanus. “Many parishes have lovely facilities, but this is an old thing and we need to bring it into a neater shape. It’s a pretty building and an old building. This is something concrete to support the faith-formation and community-building function of the parish.”
Motill said there hasn’t been any major work done on the parish’s meeting house since the 1950s. At one point, many years ago, it had served as the pastor’s residence, and about six years ago the parish began using it as a meeting house, she said. At that time, it was cleaned up a little and made presentable, but Motill and her fellow volunteers hope to bring the house back to its original beauty.
The volunteers are concentrating on the first floor of the house, which has five rooms — a dining room, children’s room, living room, kitchen and bathroom. The volunteers are broken up into five committees, each with a chairman and each working on one room. The committee for each room works out a plan for their area, and volunteers can come in whenever they find a free moment to get some work done.
“People are able to come in at their leisure and pick up a paint brush or hammer and do whatever is needed in that room,” Motill said. “We’re going to take this one step at a time because it’s all volunteer work.”
So far, the volunteers have been busy with tasks such as fixing holes in the wall, painting, selecting wallpaper and improving the lighting. Motill said many of the volunteers have paid for materials out of their own pockets, and a gentleman who wishes to remain anonymous has donated some money toward the project. Motill plans on asking local stores for donations of paint, and said when work in the kitchen has progressed a little bit more, donations of kitchen appliances might be helpful.
Motill said the volunteers hope to finish work on the house by July. Although the house is in need of repair, she said some original sections are full of character and beauty and will remain untouched, including a spiral staircase and hardwood floors.
“It’s quite lovely inside with the original wood. We pulled up the corner of the carpet and found that there were beautiful, beautiful hardwood floors underneath,” Motill said.
Father Winters is confident the project will yield good results.
“It’ll get done because people here get things done, ” he said.