Excelsior parish completes long-awaited renovation

| January 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

The sanctuary of St. John the Baptist in Excelsior is part of an extensive renovation to the church’s worship space. COURTESY ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST

St. John the Baptist in Excelsior celebrated Christmas in its newly renovated church. While the project is ongoing, the first Mass was celebrated in the renovated sanctuary Dec. 22, with the dedication of the new altar scheduled for Feb. 17. The church renovation is the first phase of the parish’s $3 million Walking Forward in Faith Capital Campaign.

The primary reason for the renovation was to rotate the interior of the church 180 degrees, so that the plans of the 1993 capital campaign, which added a gathering space on the west end of the nave — where the congregation sits — could be completed. With this rotation, the congregation now faces east, and the church’s main entrance opens to the gathering space.

The recent renovation creates a more traditional floor plan, with the sanctuary and gathering space at opposite ends of the church. The change also allows more room for people to congregate before and after Mass, which is already creating a greater sense of community, parish leaders said.

While the renovation includes new items in the church, such as a permanent baptismal font, sanctuary furnishings and 10 stained glass windows, the structure of the exterior of the church building did not change. According to church leaders, many parishioners have commented that they can’t believe that it is the same church the first time they see it, but when they look around they see the original church building that has been interiorly renovated.

The project began with Archbishop Bernard Hebda decommissioning the old altar July 8, 2018. The new space was designed by Church Interiors, Inc. of High Point, North Carolina, and Firm Ground Architects and Engineers in Minneapolis. Construction was completed by Westin Construction Company of Burnsville. Other completed parts of the project include a new library, a new confessional, a new bathroom on the church’s main level that is handicap accessible, and an updating of the eucharistic adoration chapel to improve accessibility.

“We’re really excited about it, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with the community,” said Kathy Hollahan, marketing and development coordinator. “It’s a beautiful space.”


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Category: Local News