Two parishes in Southern Kentucky have refreshed interiors thanks to the efforts of its pastors and parishioners.
Emmanuel Church in Albany, Ky., has had new trim and crown moulding installed around the sanctuary and the statues of the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, which flank the altar.
The work was done primarily by parishioner Joseph Johnson, who also gave the altar what he calls a “facelift.” He said he covered the former altar with wood from an ash tree and trimmed it with fluted moulding and rosettes.
The altar has been finished with an image of the Holy Spirit affixed to the front of the altar.
Johnson said he did something similar with the altar at Holy Cross Church in Burkesville, Ky. The altar there received a new wooden outer face and it was stained to match the rest of the church, he said. It was finished with an image of the Lamb of God which was commissioned by the Fathers of Mercy.
Johnson said the renovations began a few years ago by the former pastor of the two parishes, Father Daniel Whelan. The Fathers of Mercy now operate the parishes and have seen to the work’s completion, Johnson said.
Father Whelan “did so many improvements here,” Johnson said during a phone interview last week. “He put a cross on the steeple (at Emmanuel). We didn’t have a cross. He was really something. He wanted to make everything the best he could.”
Johnson said he worked as a carpenter more than three decades ago, before a career at General Motors. He used those slightly rusty skills, he said, to improve his parish. And he leaned on his wife Linda, his brother Paul and St. Joseph, the carpenter, to help him.
“My wife and I prayed to St. Joseph for help as we did this,” Johnson said. “And it worked out. It was such an honor to do this.”
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz visited the parishes May 12 to celebrate Mass and bless the new altars.