Church to relocate services for structural repairs

April 16, 2012 2:37:23 PM PDT
St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church is getting ready to close its sanctuary for several months for major repair work. Not only will parishioners have to move but some brides and grooms are having to make adjustments too.

We've heard about the toll of subsidence and more recently the drought that take on homes' foundations. That seems small by comparison when you consider the size of the church and the impact on the parishioners.

Mass is still being held in the church, but next month, it will be at the jamail family center. And this is perhaps the best example of why: a soccer ball that rolls down the aisle and stops at what's called the ground zero of the foundation problems at St. Vincent de Paul.

"How much that was drought and how much was subsidence, I don't know, but we have four to six inches of open space in parts of our slab," said Monsigneur Bill Young with St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.

The mounds of soil outside the church are signs of work done on the structure this year to stabilize it. That had been needed for awhile but as soon as that was complete, things started snapping in the church itself -- certainly 14 of the pews that broke at the joints. Some pews move now.

"And you can see where my fingers go underneath it," Young said.

The building itself is safe, but the nearly 60-year-old foundation has to be shored up before the problems grow worse. Soon, the sanctuary will become a construction zone and pillars will be sunk 20 feet or more into the ground.

"And it has some round discs to support it and we lift the floor up a little bit to level it out," Young said. That's huge and I studied theology, not helical piers."

Weddings that were planned for spring and summer will have to be delayed or moved to the Jamail Family Center. Communions wll have to do the same.

The work is scheduled to start May 14. If all goes as planned, construction should be completed by September 14.


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