St. Patrick’s to reopen in time for Easter
St. Patrick’s Church will re-open to the public this weekend, having been fully repaired following a fire in late September 2018 that destroyed the choir loft and caused extensive smoke damage throughout the building.
Murphy said that the intervening months have been somewhat chaotic as services shared the church hall with Alcoholics Anonymous, the Knights of Columbus, the Wareham Garden Club, and St. Patrick’s Table, the church’s weekly free meal open to anyone in the community.
“We did not miss a beat,” Murphy said. “That’s because we have a strong parish of volunteers, and those that can’t help out in other ways, whether through prayers, financially, whatever. Everybody chipped in.”
Although some services, including daily Masses, could be held in St. Anthony’s Chapel in West Wareham, most weddings and funerals were held in neighboring churches because the chapel is too small to hold a crowd.
Murphy said the support from the people in town, no matter what church they attend — if any — was “very encouraging, very heartwarming.” The supportive response, he said, gave him a sense of how important the church was to the community, even to those who are not Catholic.
Murphy recalled one “youngster” who said to him, after a service held in the church hall, “Deacon, this proves that a church is not the building.”
However, Murphy noted, the building cements the community, and St. Patrick’s has been restored to (or perhaps surpassed) its former beauty.
Father Antonio DaSilva, SDV, decided to restore the church to how it looked before the fire, maintaining the same paint colors and hiring a carpenter to rebuild the church’s signature New England woodwork.
Although the fire was contained to the choir loft and immediately surrounding areas of the church, the whole building was affected by heavy smoke and water damage — all the way back to the vestry, located behind the altar.
Much of the work that had to be done was deep cleaning the black smoke damage from everywhere in the church, including the beams above the ceiling, the walls, and the stained glass windows, of which all but one survived. Luckily, the church was able to find a company to restore the window so it exactly matches the rest of the windows in the church.
“Yesterday, I was looking out over this, and I felt like I was in heaven,” said Luciana Silva, who, along with her crew of cleaners from Luciana’s Cleaning Services, was making the church sparkle ahead of Easter weekend services.
Although the Holy Thursday Mass will take place in the Church Hall, as have most services since the fire, all services beginning with the Stations of the Cross at 2 p.m. on Friday will take place in the church. On Saturday, the Easter Vigil will begin at 8:30 p.m. with what Murphy emphasized will be a well-watched bonfire some distance from the church. On Easter Sunday, services will be held at 8 and 10 a.m. and noon, along with the 9 a.m. service at St. Anthony’s.
The only thing left to be completed for the church is the pipe organ, which is being built in New Jersey and is expected to arrive by the end of June. Murphy emphasized that everyone in the community will be invited to the church’s grand opening when it is announced, and to the dedication of the church.
Murphy said that he and Father Antonio wish to thank the entire community, and the Wareham Fire Department especially, along with the police and other churches for their support and kindness.