St. Michael Archangel Church Update

Rev. John Brucciani

The construction of the new church of St. Michael Archangel continues apace. Despite some very cold winter weeks in December and January, which caused significant delays to the bricklayers (wet mortar deteriorates and crumbles below 3ºC) and months of wet weather, the builders are confident that work will be completed by the end of July.

Currently, with the walls now built, the portico is under construction and the carpenters are laying the wooden roof beams and trusses. The dome apse and zinc roof will be laid, insulated and fixed by the first weeks of May. During this same period, carpenters will also construct the generous choir loft. This will mark the completion of the “superstructure” phase which will mean the building is finally sealed and interior works will be able to begin and continue regardless of the weather!

During May, the mechanical engineers will install the complicated maze of pipes, pumps, electrical wiring and components under the watchful eye of Fr O’Hart, himself a highly qualified mechanical engineer who gave it all up to become a priest! The church will have underfloor heating throughout the building, fed by an air-source heat pump installed in the WC block.

Hopefully, by the end of June, we will complete much of the “interior finishes” which include plastering the walls and ceiling, installing exterior and interior doors and glazed screens, constructing the stairwell to the choir loft, installing the double confessional, and preparing the floor for tiling. Speaking of which: we hope soon to conclude price negotiations which, if successful, will allow us to lay stone paving and tiles throughout the nave, sanctuary and side chapels. The use of stone will greatly improve the building's acoustics and thus enhance the beauty and solemnity of the Divine Liturgy. It is the least we can do for Our Lord but also for our wonderful choir, the members of which work so hard to deliver some of the best liturgical music in England. Stone is, however, more expensive than tile, so donations for this specific project are welcome. The beauty of God’s house is well worth our sacrifice.

If we can keep on schedule, during July, the builders will be able to complete the final details of the construction project: laying the paths, tarmacking the road and car park and general landscaping. A work party of volunteer landscapers and gardeners will be organised to plant the shrubs and trees in front and around the new church complex, thus allowing parishioners to have a hand in this great project, and saving us a substantial sum of money while doing so! People are already asking about when we will be able to move into the new church. I hope that this will happen in the course of the summer, ready for September. Announcements will be made when we have a better idea of the timings. The church will be blessed first. Only when we have constructed the high altar will we begin to think about the solemn consecration. Meanwhile, a temporary altar will be used which will allow for the celebration of Mass. We have already purchased a single piece of beautiful Cararra marble that will form the mensa of the future high altar. Mr Basil Seeber will design and build the altar in marble, which will be ready sometime in the next year.

We are also preparing furnishings for the sacristy. We will purchase two A0 metal drawer chests (used by architects) to store the Mass vestments. This solution is notably less expensive than constructing a press in wood, and the metal drawers never stick! The walls will be lined with floor-to-ceiling cupboards which will house the albs and copes.

I can only encourage those who are excited about this project to dig deep into their pockets and help with its completion. In the divine plan of things, it is not so much the monetary sum that God remembers. Rather, He remembers and rewards the level of sacrifice that accompanies the donation. Throughout its long history, the Catholic Church has built new temples of sacrifice only thanks to the offerings of the people. Let us all want to be part of the building of this new church, the building of which is nothing short of a miracle in current times.

Click here to donate to the building of St. Michael Archangel Church

Click here for more information about the project

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