Welcome back, old friend
By April Beane
Photos by Dan Johnson and Ben Smidt
Workers spent the past two weeks deconstructing the metal maze that encircled the Church of the Gesu’s west steeple since April.
For the past six months, the church has been wrapped in scaffolding while undergoing much-needed repairs to its transepts (the transverse aisle crossing the main aisle of the church) and steeples.
It’s understandable that it might need a little tuck-pointing here and there — the church’s cornerstone reads May 21, 1893.
“There are three words you never want to hear from an inspector: potential failure risks,” says Executive Director of Operations/Parish Administrator John O’Brien.
Overall, the church is in good condition, according to O’Brien. A number of exterior issues that needed to be addressed included repairing portions of the terra cotta and many of the skyward facing joints at the highest elevations of the steeples.
In an effort to leverage resources (building scaffolding to an angel’s altitude isn’t cheap), the church expanded the scope of the repairs to complete additional restoration and refinishing, including the bell louvers, the clock mechanism and four faces, and replacing the coverings of the Annunciation and Resurrection windows with clear safety glass. The project also replaced the cross atop the west steeple.
Now that the scaffolding is gone, people walking by seem to enjoy taking a moment to pause — and take in the beauty of the church.
According to O’Brien, repairs to the 120-year-old church are ongoing. To find out how you can help, contact John O’Brien.