QUEENSTOWN — For Father Clemens Manista, parish priest of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, celebrating the rich history of the parish is intrinsically tied to the costly duty of maintaining the building.
The church, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, traces back to 1765 when the land was originally purchased for 28 pounds by Father Joseph Mosely for a chapel house. Since the first building was enlarged in 1813 and replaced by 1819 to accommodate a growing congregation, the chapel has been in continuous use.
“In the church, we always depend upon the faithfulness of the people who have gone before us,” said Manista. “By preserving the structure, we’re honoring the sacrifices and the commitment of those before us. The north transept needs to have the bricks repointed and the (rotting) wood needs to be recreated as well as repainting the original windows from 1877.”
Aside from repainting the glass, a clear window will be installed in order to protect the cleaned and restored work requiring fashioning a new frame to be installed.
In total, work on the north transept costs $40,000 with hopes of a formal campaign to begin other work on the south transept, front entrance and the steeple. To complete the additional work, another $200,000 is still needed.
Among the vendors working with the church on the historic preservation is Michael Andrew, a son of a parishioner, who is replacing badly damaged wood. If funding was completely secured, all preservation efforts could be completed within a year.
The church draws a longstanding faith community, including 300 active families, and Manista pointed out that much of the support the parish has received for slow, but increasing progress has come from those same parishioners.
“You’re calling people to the same kind of commitment and faithfulness people had before,” said Manista. “Most of those who visit are our (parishioners). We’re close to completing the process and if anyone would like to help financially, we would welcome that, but we invite them to see the church at the 5:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday and at 7:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday.”
Full-time construction would continue if funding was readily available. Those interested in donating to the church may call 410-758-0143.
“This church was the cornerstone of this community when it was first established,” Manista said.