During Easter Sunday, when so many people came to our Church, many marveled at the renovated beauty of the Church. Some however were greatly disturbed by the fact that some of the windows are missing.
"Are you replacing the windows with clear plexiglass?" asked some. Others said, "Are you getting new windows?"
So, let's be clear.
The windows are the jewels of our Church. The need for repair of these windows came to us in 1985 during the time of the renovation of Father Fred Schaefer. There was no money at that time to do anything about the bad shape of the windows. In 2005, it was estimated that soon the windows would fall out of their frames unless something was done immediately.
It was the desire to restore these beautiful works of art that originally drove the campaign to renovate the Church in the first place. So next came the process of interviewing many vendors.
One vendor said that they could do the work at the cost of about one million dollars.
Another vendor said, "Let's just fix the windows that are in worst need and save the rest for another day."
Another vendor said, "I can work on the stained glass windows without removing them from the Church."
The vendor that was chosen, based on price and reliability, was Bovard Studios. They have had a long history of working on stained glass windows for many years, and restored many of our Churches on Long Island. Based in Iowa, this company is a leading artisan for stained glass repair and restoration.
So what is the process? Each window is removed. When possible, the existing plexiglass safety covering (installed sometime in the 60's), is left in place in order to afford the Church light and security. The upper windows, where there is no plexiglass safety covering, are replaced temporarily with plywood covering. Then the windows are shipped to Iowa where each window is disassembled, cleaned, re-leaded, and fitted back into a new custom-made aluminum frame with a separate channel for a clear protective glass covering. Then the whole unit is shipped back and re-installed in their new frames. The overall cost of the project is about a quarter of a million dollars.
The windows are being removed during the weeks of April 9th and April 16th. They will be returned to us in September! In the meantime, the Church will look a lot brighter -- but somewhat barren of its beauty. We pray that the work goes well and that our Church will shine even more beautifully come the fall!