St. Francis Xavier Parish renovates entire interior of the Cherryvale church

The interior of St. Francis Xavier Church in Cherryvale has been completely renovated. (Courtesy photo)

St. Francis Xavier Church in Cherryvale has been renovated from the ceiling to the floor.

Parishioner Carol Staton said the $400,000 project to freshen and renovate the interior began in January. Bishop Carl A. Kemme ceremonially completed the renovation when he consecrated the altar and blessed the work on Saturday, July 1.

Parishioners went to Mass in the Community Center

In the interim, Fr. Zachary Pinaire celebrated Mass in the parish’s Community Center. He is also pastor of St. Andrew Parish in Independence.

“We had gone 30 years without any major renovation, so this one was top to bottom,” Staton said.

Fr. Pinaire said St. Francis Xavier was a beautiful church before the renovation. “The renovation just brought out an even deeper level of beauty,” he said.

Parishioners have commented mostly about the brighter colors in the church. Blues were highlighted before the renovation but other colors, such as gold, white, brown, and green, were added to complement the colors in the stained glass windows.
Painters broke out their brushes after significant plaster repairs were completed in the ceiling and the sacristy, he said. All the statues and stations were also refreshed.

Holy Spirit painting added

“We added a painting of the Holy Spirit over the reredos and installed a light to light it up,” Father Pinaire said.
Two significant alterations of the project were the side altar enhancements.

“The two altars with Mary and Joseph were painted altars. They actually added the reredoses that surround Joseph and Mary. Don Wendt with Ecclesiastical Studios did an amazing job of matching them to the (altar) reredos. His mentality the entire time was we want to make it look like it’s always been this way. And it does. It looks phenomenal and beautiful.”

Statue colors complement each other

He said the statue of Mary was painted to emphasize red and blue to match the colors of the two angel statues in the sanctuary and on the holy water fonts.

“Fr. Gabriel Greer explained that the red stands for charity and the blue for wisdom and that the seraphim and cherubim are the highest levels in the choir of angels,” Fr. Pinaire said.

Painting was the first and most time-consuming phase, he said. That was followed by the flooring and the tiling.

The pew refinishing was a little more expensive than planned, Father said, but the pews were basically rebuilt with the company promising they would last for 50 to 100 years. “Their goal is craftsmanship. They look beautiful.”

Fr. Pinaire said he was thankful that Bishop Kemme was able to squeeze the parish into his calendar to consecrate the altar before his schedule slackened in July.

The pastor added that money given by previous generations of parishioners was added to what was recently raised to pay for the project.

Referring to parishioners who have passed on, he said, “I would like to believe they are grateful that we have an even more beautiful place to worship our Lord.”

Missouri company did most of the work

Ecclesiastical’s owner Don Wendt, the decorator, his son Alex the junior decorator, and Cliff Foth, the company’s carpenter and painter, were responsible for much of the work. The company is based in Greenwood, Missouri.

The painting included ceiling stencils, the Communion rail, and the altar. The hardwood floor beneath the pews and on the side was laid by a Parsons company. Porcelain tile was used for flooring in the sanctuary and for the main aisle.

Southern Furniture of Waco, Texas, was responsible for the pew refurbishing. The pews were returned in the last week of June – just in time for the blessing.