St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Roanoke unveiled a new look this weekend — clean, crisp, bright.
The cleaning of the sanctuary for the first time in 45 years required scaffolding clear to the ceiling an estimated 65 feet above the pews. A crew of up to 50 people from a New York architectural arts company washed and repainted every surface except the windows, which were previously updated.
Church services continued with parishioners sitting in a forest of scaffolding poles.
The $1.2 million project, which concluded in August after three months of work, was showcased this weekend.
The blue dome of the apse, dotted with stars, had become dull-looking and showed signs of water damage from a leaking roof. “Now it kind of pops,” said parishioner Aimee Valenzuela of Roanoke County at the open house.
Candle smoke, incense, dust and other airborne debris have been collecting since the sanctuary’s last cleaning in 1975 and leaks had damaged plaster, which was repaired before repainting.
“We brought it back to life,” said Wayne Gould, facilities and maintenance coordinator. “It’ll get dirty and people will notice things. When Father Anthony and I are long gone, somebody’ll say, ‘Let’s clean the church again.’ “
The Rev. Anthony Ferguson, the parochial vicar who also functions as the backup pastor, found fascination with the handiwork that went into cleaning up the stations of the cross. “Everything is just glowing,” he said.
This was the culmination of a three-part project by the church, which has a membership of about 1,500 families. A new roof was installed in 2019, new steeples in 2014. All together, the project cost about $7.7 million and was paid for with member donations. Gould said he expects the project to qualify for historic tax credits, which will generate a payment to the church.
The church, which was built in 1902 and is on the National Register of Historic Places, is open to visitors. The sanctuary is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mass is held Monday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.