Parishioners have held a three-year vigil in a successful attempt to keep the church open, but black mold in the structure makes its future uncertain.
ADAMS, Mass. – Surrounded by decorations and bright lights in a shrine decorated for the Christmas season, Reverend Barrent Pease delivered a sobering message to parishioners at St. Stanislaus Kostka Mission Church on Sunday morning.
The 116-year-old church faces short-term closure and its long-term viability is in great doubt.
The immediate problem, Pease reported, is that black mold has been confirmed in the historic Hoosac Street structure.
Down the road, the parish faces repair bills far beyond its means.
In fact, Pease expressed doubts that the Roman Catholic community in Adams could foot the bill for around $ 100,000 of work needed to address the mold problem, which poses an immediate threat to the health of parishioners. .
Pease advised worshipers with breathing problems to immediately plan to attend mass at another church in the area, and he told attendees of Sunday’s 8 a.m. mass to throw off their face coverings. wore after service, as mold spores could get stuck in the masks.
The parish is awaiting orders from the city of Adams to temporarily lock the doors to St. Stan’s, Pease said in a 15-minute homily devoted entirely to issues with the building.
In addition to cleaning up the black mold already inside the church, the parish would consider exterior repairs, including installing a French drain around the perimeter and repairing or even replacing the church roof to prevent moisture from continuing to enter the space, he said.
“I don’t know how much it’s going to cost, but it’s going to be expensive,” Pease said. “I was told that the best case scenario, for a project of this size, would cost at least $ 50,000 to $ 100,000 with removal and reclamation.
“On top of that, we have the architectural problems to be solved.”
These issues will likely cost around $ 4 million to fix, Pease told the congregation.
The priest said parish officials had consulted with professional fundraisers who said the faith community could likely raise, at best, $ 500,000 in a fundraising campaign, far below what they would need.
The bottom line is that St. Stanislaus Kostka, whose parishioners avoided closure in 2012, is unlikely to survive indefinitely, Pease said.
“Sooner or later this bad news was going to come,” he said from the pulpit. “It’s a shame the mold makes it more immediate.”
According to a hundred pages report From EnviroBiomics Inc., posted on the parish website, “Potential health effects and symptoms associated with exposure to molds include, but are not limited to, allergic reactions, asthma and other breathing problems. “
A separate report As of December 2020 from architect Amherst Kuhn-Riddle details the structural work needed at St. Stan’s with an estimated price tag of $ 2.8 million, though, as Pease noted in the homily As of Sunday, construction costs rose during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pease invited the parishioners of St. Stan’s to join their Catholic brethren at his sister church at the other end of Hoosac Street, Notre Dame. The movement would unite the historically Polish-American and Franco-American communities of Adams under one roof; in 2009 Notre Dame and St. Stan’s merged with St. Thomas Aquinas to form the parish of St. John Paul II.
“We can’t save the building, but we can save the contents – the altar, the statues, the artwork,” Pease said. “We can bring these things, once they’ve been inspected and cleaned to make sure we’re not bringing any mold, to 21 Maple Street… and combine the heritage of the Polish and French communities so that both legacies survive. .
“As they look to the future of Adams Church, the people of St. Stan’s hold the key to that future. We can choose, and I said that at the four o’clock mass last night. [at Notre Dame], we can choose to come together now and survive, or we can choose to stay apart and the two communities … will not survive for the next 20 years. “
Keywords: church, closing, st stans,