The Church of St. Joseph raised $1.63 million during a capital campaign to renovate their sanctuary, the parish announced Dec. 10. The parish had set a stretch goal of $1.5 million.
“As with any very old building, you never know what surprises we might encounter during construction,” said Dean Budde, campaign co-chair, in a statement. “We are thankful for the financial leeway that exceeding our goal provides to deal with unforeseen issues.”
The church is the oldest consecrated church in Minnesota. Early settlers brought stones from their fields for the construction of the church, which has stood on this spot since 1871. The interior was renewed in 1971 to reflect revisions to the liturgy brought about by the Second Vatican Council, but the current updates will go further, supporting the integrity of the church structure and increasing accessibility and safety, according to the parish’s statement.
Construction is set to begin shortly after the New Year with a completion date set for early summer. During construction, Masses will be held in Heritage Hall.
The floor substructure will be reworked to address uneven floors. Insulation has been added to the ceiling. Renovation of the sacristy, the former winter chapel, includes in-floor heating and removal and restoration of a mural segment found behind one of the walls.
The church interior will be completely renewed. The walls and ceilings will be repaired and repainted. The pews and kneelers will be refinished and re-upholstered. The lighting and fans will be replaced and the sound system will be upgraded. This will allow those with hearing loss to more fully participate in Mass.
A ramp will be built up to the altar and choir area so everyone can fully participate in ministry. Additional space for wheelchairs and assisted seating will be added near the front.
A larger tiered area will allow music ministers and the choir to see the director at the organ console or the piano. A sprinkler system for fire safety will be installed on the recommendation of the Diocese of St. Cloud to bring the church up to local and state building codes.