St. Joseph in Charleston prepares for renovation

CHARLESTON—St. Joseph Church will begin some long-planned interior renovations in July.

Father Gabriel J. Smith, pastor, said they are taking out their old pews and installing new ones. The process is expected to take about six weeks, but hinges on how much work the floors require once the current seating is removed.

While the updates are taking place, Mass will be celebrated in the gymnasium of the family life center, Father Smith said.

St. Joseph started a capital campaign in 2009 with a goal of raising $150,000 by December 2011. The priest applauded his parishioners and other contributors, noting that they have already exceeded their goal and are ready to start work.

“I would have liked to start yesterday, so to speak, but we have youth programs and camps going on,” Father Smith said.

The church offers various summer camps that are held in the gym and run through June. Once they are finished, church services can move to the family life center and work can begin.

Father Smith said the pews are over 40 years old and have reached an age where they are falling apart. He said the seats, which are made of particle board, are splitting. In some areas, nails are visible and have snagged people’s clothing.

The new pews will be true hardwood and will increase the church’s seating capacity from 425 to about 625, he said.

Regi Plichta, church secretary, said they are also installing larger, refurbished Stations of the Cross.
“We’re really excited about it,” she said.

Father Smith explained that they purchased the stations from a company in Alpharetta, Ga., to replace an older, smaller set. He said he wanted the murals depicting the final hours of Christ to stand out for parishioners.