Denison church restoration serves as history lesson

DENISON, Texas -- Restorations are now underway on 100-year-old St. Patrick Catholic Church in Denison. The project is not only special to the parishioners, but to the city, due to the building's historical value.

As you enter downtown Denison, it's steeple rises above the treeline. St. Patrick is a century old this year. And in order to stick around for another 100, it's a little TLC.

"Replace the mortar where it needs it, and then shore up areas that need repair," said Frank Ventura, Chairman of the 'Second Century Restoration' campaign.

In total, the project will cost $1.4 million, but 90 percent of that money has already been collected through donations and pledges, Ventura said.

The campaign to raise funds began in November of last year.

The restorations will also include new roofing, new gutters and interior work to waterproof the building.

"And we're going to repair the 100-year-old organ as well. So it's a massive restoration of this church," Ventura said.

The exterior work is expected to take eight to nine months. Then the interior work will begin. In total, it should be an 18 month process.

On Thursday, Ventura organized a blessing of the workers who will be on site. In attendance was the mayor of Denison and the city manager.

For parishioner and author Suzanne Broussard, the project keeps the church's history alive, which she has intently studied.

Broussard is the author of a book called "Reflections of Faith: The Windows of St. Patrick Catholic Church."

The book discusses not only the meaning and dedications behind the massive stained glass windows inside St. Patrick. It also go through the church's timeline.

"The church actually formed the same year Denison formed. The church in terms of the parish community," she said.

She clarified, she said, because the structural building we see today is only 100 years old.

The original building was constructed out of wood in 1873, when Denison was a booming railroad town. But it burned down in 1911.

In 1914, the building that stands today was constructed.

"The church itself is a reflection of faith of the parishioners 100 years ago. It's my feeling that we owe them their legacy," Broussard said.

She said the pioneer's that dedicated their heart and soul to building this church and establishing a Catholic community in Denison ought to be repaid.


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