A correspondent has advised me that the folks at Old St. Patrick's in Kansas City officially announced their plans, their budget, and their fundraising campaign to restore the Oratory at a kickoff meeting last Sunday.. That correspondent also forwarded a photograph of the interior from the late 1940s.
Looks like a wedding is going on. I'm not sure where he got the picture. Maybe it's my correspondent's wedding?
Anyways, compare that to what they did in the 1970s by
Anyways, things are moving forward on the restoration project:
Bad news: it's not just a matter of pulling up the baby blue carpet, melting down the swanky altar and canopy from the 1970's remodel, and repainting and reconstructing the old altar and communion rail—they have to do serious mechanical and plumbing work, construct restrooms, replace the wooden floor, replace the unsalvageable wooden pews and other expensive, but not glamorous, stuff.
Good news: is that it will be only about $750,000 to get that done and restore the church in functional condition so they can move in and have their own place to celebrate Mass. Believe me, that's not bad, considering the age of the building and the cost of any commercial construction these days.
Bad news: They don't have all the money yet.
Good news: They seem to have a plan to raise the money and tap into sources beyond the 85 families currently registered at the Oratory. I suppose part of that plan is for people like my correspondent to email people like me and ask me to send some money in. I'll be sending them a check, or at least some cash in an unmarked envelope (must preserve my anonymity). If any readers want to do the same, they can contact the Oratory or just mail it in (PO Box 414237, Kansas City, Missouri 64141). Tell them that I sent you (I don't get a kickback, or even brownie points—I'm not a member of the Oratory and they don't even know who I am).
Bad news: They haven't found the old reredos, pictured above, and they haven't yet found a suitable replacement altar. It needs to be wooden, unpainted, in a Romanesque (round, not pointed, arch) style. Marble is too heavy, a painted altar wouldn't match the era, and Gothic wouldn't match the style. If you have a 20-30 foot altar that meets such a description in your basement or garage, email me, and I'll put you in touch with my correspondent, who will put you in touch with the Oratory.
Good news: If they raise enough money to start construction next month, they can have the work done and be in the building by January 2007.
Bad news: Once they get into the building and finally have their own place for Mass, they need a couple hundred grand more to do other work, and then (although my correspondent says these weren't discussed) they need a few hundred more to build a rectory, and a couple million to build a school so they can educate the right-wing reactionary Catholics of the future.
Good news: By the time they get into the building, I'll surely have won the lottery and can simply write a check to cover whatever comes next.