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Church Happenings
2nd Quarter of 2008

              During the 10 AM Mass on June 22nd three of the Catholic graduating seniors were blessed by Father Stephen and a lovely reception for their families and friends was held in the hall after Mass. We wish only the best to these three graduates: Dan Leonard, Veronica Wainman, Samantha Weyrauch.
             The inside of the church had a different look to it on the weekend of June 21st and 22nd. For the first time in 18 months we did not have to contend with the shoring tower, that was installed in January 2007 to support the broken roof truss. With the installation of the three one inch steel rods that now support the balcony, the posts for that have also been removed. The crew continues to make progress, when the weather cooperates they are replacing the shingles on the smaller sections of the roof and when the rains comes, they switch to working inside the church.
            The progress on the roof continues. The main part is almost completed and now the crew has been taking advantage of the good weather by starting work on the section of roof over the sanctuary area.

        June's Mary's Flowers celebrated with morning mass and a decade of the Rosary read with the Luminous Mysterious led by MaryAnn Hunter. Following Mass and the Rosary, Mary's Flowers was joined by Father Stephen for a very interesting class about the detailed symbolism in Icons. The girls were shown many examples of Icons to apply what they learned and  were able to see Father Stephen's childhood Icon that has traveled with him. After learning about the symbolic meanings in an Icon, Mary's Flowers worked happily and heartily on making their own Icons. These Icons were on display last weekend during Mass in the Hall. After their Icon study and project the girls completed a great Father's Day project.  

          The reconfiguration process of the Albany Diocese,  "Called to Be Church" has been going on for the past two years. Your Local Planning Group which includes the parishes of Hancock, Walton, Delhi and Margaretville have been meeting almost monthly during that time period. The topics of discussion were varied and numerous. Church seating capacities, condition of current buildings and grounds, current Mass schedules as well as projected schedules for the next  five years. The future mission of the church as it relates to evangelization, faith formation, prayer and worship, and Christian service were a large part of the discussions. Then came the finances and administration discussions.
            All this information and the outcome of all the discussions were formulated into one report. This document will be sent to the diocese to be reviewed. If the review commission accepts what the group has come up with, our job is finished. If they don't agree with the groups report, we get to do some more homework.
            Much has been said about this process in the Evangelist over the past two years. What I haven't seen mentioned is a sincere thank you to all the volunteers that gave so much of their time and energy over this time period, so that your voice would clearly be heard. From St. Paul's your representatives were: Father Stephen Morris, Charlene Caramore, Bob Norton, Patty and Brad Esolen, and Paul Bartholomew.
            The picture below was taken at the last meeting that was held on June 9th to finalize the report. Brad and Patty are not in the picture because the great work they did in participating as a young family of the parish was over with.

         The crew arrived at daybreak in order to get a head start on the extreme heat that we have been having for the past few days. The shingles are starting to cover a good portion of the roof as the pictures below show.

         The construction on the roof continues to go along smoothly and the weather has been most cooperative. It has allowed for taking off sections of the roof and getting the sheathing and paper on without any rain  getting into the church. The crew has had to work some real long days in order to take advantage of what mother nature put before them, in order to accomplish the task. Picture four below shows where a set of trusses have been doubled up. This is where three evenly spaced one inch rods will be attached to support the front side of the balcony. Then the posts can be removed that are currently doing the job.
        This week the shingles will began to cover the roof. The additions that have been added to the church over the years will also get new ones. In the end the complete roof system will have the same great new look.
        A close inspection of the cross that has been on the church for years shows allot of degradation to the metal plates that covers the wood underneath. I'm sure this is the time to consider a replacement.

       The Hancock Community Educational Foundation held it's graduation ceremonies for the pre-school children on June 5th. The children sung some of the educational songs that they had learned throughout the year. A reception followed: for the kids, friends and relatives that attended the graduation.

        Monday, June 1st  the crew was back and because the weather looked favorable for the next two days it was decided to take off another section of the old roof. Pictures from above are the best way for you to see the work in progress and the views I get of the west side of Hancock and the surrounding hills are also great.

        The trusses started to go up on Wednesday evening and by late Friday, the crew had the plywood on and the black paper covering the roof. A tarp was placed between the new and old sections to prevent any leaks from the rain over the weekend.

        St. Paul's church roof just got a lot more holier rather quickly. In just two days the shingles were stripped off and the roof boards removed as well as the rafters for about one half of the roof. You can get a good at what the barrel ceiling of the church looks like from the top side in some of the pictures. The first two pictures were taken from the lawn area next to the parking lot. The rest I took while being in the bucket of the lift machine 60 feet in the air. I'm not crazy about heights, but it was not too bad as long as I didn't look straight down. Picture number three is a good picture showing the original truss that broke off the wall. This was pulling the roof boards down with it, thus causing the sag in the roof that was first noticed about 18 months ago.
       The only time I didn't feel real comfortable was when John, who was operating the lift, decided he wanted to get in the group picture with his crew that was perched on one of the main trusses. He shut the machine off, opened the gate and walked across the top of the wall to join them. This left me all alone in the bucket about 40 feet in the air. The only thing that was going through my mind was; what do I do if this machine starts to move by itself or worst case, John slips off the edge of the wall. There was no need to worry, everything ended well and I got some great pictures. The last picture is looking east, shows the house of Bob and Wendy Norton and the Miller's house with their red van in the driveway.
        The crane will arrive on Thursday morning, May 29th to start erecting the trusses that were delivered last week. Pray that we get two more days without rain so the crew can get this section enclosed before the weekend.

             Confirmation was held at the Family School Chapel this year because at the time the date of May 23 was set, the ability to use our church was doubtful due to the ongoing construction. Daniel Mason and Tom Malinsky from our parish were confirmed as well as 11 kids from the Family Foundation School. The school chapel is large and the beautiful stone altar  was salvaged when there used to be a main altar and two side altars in churches. There was no reception for the candidates and their families this year because of the change in location, but a couple of the ladies of St. Paul's did put together a nice care package for Bishop Hubbard to munch on while making his way back to Albany.

          The roof project continues to progress. The original flat ceiling has been completely removed and deteriorated wiring that was in the attic has been replaced, as well as the wiring to the chandeliers. The first load of roof trusses have been delivered. The weather needs to cooperate more before the first section of the roof can be removed and the trusses put into place.
        The Crowning of the Image of the Blessed Virgin Mary took place at St. Paul's on Sunday, May 18. The crowning concluded a year of Religious Education. The celebration included hymns to Mary as well as readings by eight different readers and four lectors. Father Stephen was the celebrant and led us in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Notice the Bible in the picture below. It was presented by Father Baniak in 1969 to John Okulsky, better known as (Coon Hill John). This is when John re-laid the stone steps leading down to the street in front of the church.

         Maryís Flowers group met this month to celebrate Maryís Month and Motherís Day. The girls started their meeting reciting the rosary in honor of Mary and we are very proud of Mackenzie Fosdick, since she volunteered to lead the rosary. It was her very first time reciting it out loud as a soloist and she did an excellent job. Then the girls shared some fellowship and a light snack at the hall. A beautiful decorated cake in honor of Mary was a special treat for the girls. The girls also completed a motherís day gift, (a lovely bag holder, a Motherís Day card, and a tissue paper bouquet).
        The bag holder, was a sewing project and the girls earned their sewing badge.  Our next meeting will be held Saturday June 7th 2008 at 9:00 AM.  Any new young girls wanting to join or to visit our program may call the rectory for more information. Friends are always welcome.

           First Communion was held at St. Paul's on Sunday, May 4th. The were 8 young boys and girls that received the Body of Christ for the first time. They were: Michael Argiros, Patrick Esolen, Mackenzie Fosdick, Kaylee Gill, William Gross, Stephen Luniewski, Alyssa Makowski and Jackson Miller. Congratulations to these young people. A reception was held in the Father Rausch Hall.

              The week of May fourth was exceptionally busy with Funeral Masses and luncheons. On Monday May 4th there was a Funeral Mass for: Andrew D'Agati, Tuesday May 5th for Little John Mason and Thursday May 8th for JoAnn Bartholomew Bullis. The volunteers for the Bethany Ministries did there usual exceptional performance in seeing that the needs of all the families were taken care of.
            On Wednesday May 7th, Father Stephen and some staff personnel from The Family Foundation School took over 20 young people to Auriesville on a retreat, to further prepare them for their upcoming Confirmation on May 23rd.
           For Mary's Flowers April found us in the DeSerio Center starting our morning with a prayer, enjoying our homemade breads, and making two different crafts. Our first craft was a beaded Miraculous Medal necklace. The second activity is a Mother's Day activity that will take two classes to complete. The girls do not want to share the pictures until after their mother's receive their gifts. We are all so proud of Mary's Flowers because the girls are working hard and happily learning new skills to make a gift for their mother's. For many of the girls, this is a new skill entirely!  
             The restoration of the church roof continues with more of the flat ceiling that is above the current vaulted ceiling being removed and taken away. The flat ceiling had designs and pictures that were painted on, probably when the church was first built around 1888. The ceiling was left as is and the present vaulted ceiling was installed in the 1930's. From where the vaulted ceiling meets the side walls, to the actual top of the walls the designs are visible in a couple of the pictures below. The ceiling also had the pelican and the dove shown below. These were painted on canvas and were also part of the original design. Inside the church we have the support post near the altar and the two posts that now support the balcony.
               Mathilde Offnick, a long time parishioner of St. Paul's passed away in Bunnel, Fl. on April 6th. The funeral Mass for her was at St. Paul's on Sat. April 12th. Following internment in St. Paul's Cemetery, the The Bethany Ministry volunteers put on a luncheon for her family and friends. Mathilde was 98 years young at the time of her death.
          On Monday April 7th the long awaited replacement of the roof on St. Paul's started with the removal of the air conditioning duct work as well as an old unused ventilation system in the attic. The tons of old blown in insulation were vacuumed up through a four inch hose and deposited in the trailer you see pictured below. The last picture shows the beams and rafters in the attic. At the bottom of the picture you can see the top part of the old original flat ceiling. This ceiling will be removed and taken out through the hole that was made in the roof. This ceiling needs to be removed to make room to install the new rafters and cords that are needed for the actual replacement of the roof. The work is being done by the John Haddad Construction Company from Bainbridge, NY.

         The dedicated volunteers of the Bethany Ministry started off the 2nd quarter of 2008 by providing a funeral luncheon on Thursday, April 3rd for the family and friends of Edward Franskevicz. On Saturday, April 5th a funeral luncheon was provided for the family and friends of Arthur DaBrescia. Thanks to those that took time out of their busy schedules to work the five hours it takes to set-up the hall, cook the hams and prepare everything before the luncheon even begins, and of course all the clean time afterwards. Thanks also to everyone that donated the rest of the menu items. If you would like to volunteer some time or cook something for future luncheons, call Socorro at 637-2582.