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Archives ‘Should serve us well for many years’

October 13, 2021

Repairs to St. Mary’s Cathedral funded by It’s Our Church, It’s Our Future Capital Campaign

By Darcy Fargo

OGDENSBURG – Thanks to funding raised in the diocesan It’s Our Church, It’s Our Future Capital Campaign, St. Mary’s Cathedral is undergoing needed repairs and restoration to ensure the cathedral structure is sound and beautiful well into the future.

“We actually have two projects going on – one interior and one exterior,” said Father Joseph A. Morgan, rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Crews from Lupini Construction, a Utica-based firm, are completing exterior work.

“They’re repointing the façade of the cathedral,” Father Morgan said. “And restoring a limestone column that has degraded.”

Father Morgan said the currently ongoing exterior work is an extension of previous work that had been done to repair the stonework.

“We did the north wall one year, the west wall another,” he said. “We’ve repaired a number of spots that were leaking. A big chunk of the work has been done by Lupini. They’ve done a lot of work in churches throughout the diocese, and they’ve been doing work on our cathedral for many years. They first came here around this time in 2010.”

Inside the cathedral, Stuart Riche, a local contractor who also completed the restoration at St. Lawrence University’s Gunnison Memorial Chapel after it was gutted by fire, is completing a number of improvement projects.

“Where water has come in and streaked the stone, they’re cleaning that,” said Father Morgan. “Some of the windows are showing the effects of water coming in over almost 70 years. They’re working on those, and they’re repairing and restoring the Stations of the Cross and other wood things in the cathedral. Some of the stations have significant cracks, some have missing or broken crosses. Rishe’s work also includes refinishing the cathedral doors.”

Father Morgan noted that the repairs have been funded largely through the It’s Our Church, It’s Our Future Capital Campaign.

“Some of the exterior work is from the diocesan portion of the campaign,” he said. “A lot of the interior work is from the parish portion of the campaign. We wouldn’t have been able to do this work without incurring debt otherwise. We’ve also been able to do a number of projects at Notre Dame. We’ve made the entryway safer, and there’s a new boiler and sound system. All that work was completed before we started work on the cathedral.”

Father Morgan said he hopes the renovation work will be completed before the diocese celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2022.

“We’re doing the exterior now, and we hope to focus on the cement work in front of the cathedral in the spring or summer,” he said.

Father Morgan said he is grateful to those who supported and continue to support the Capital Campaign.

“I’m so grateful to everybody who participated in – and those still participating in – the Capital Campaign,” he said. “People were very responsive, and we were over our goal. The work they’ve enabled us to do should serve us well for many years.”

He also expressed gratitude to those impacted by the ongoing projects.

“Funerals have all shifted to Notre Dame during this time,” Father Morgan said. “For the most part, people have been very understanding. It takes a day to get everything from the project cleaned up to use the building, and then they also lose time setting everything back up.”

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