By Murvin H. Perry
St. Mary Parish in Johnson City dedicated its newly renovated perpetual-adoration chapel on Aug. 16.
More than 150 parishioners joined in procession from the church to the newly redone chapel after the 10 a.m. Mass to witness the dedication ceremony. Refreshments were served in the gathering area after the dedication.
The refurbishment consisted of building a new altar with niches for statues of Joseph and Mary on either side and a stone shelf in the center to hold the tabernacle; installing a new entrance door and side panels with stained-glass panes, a new laminated floor covering, and new chairs; repainting the walls; and installing a security camera to protect worshiping adorers from intruders.
The area in front of the chapel was also reworked. A statue of the risen Jesus stands to the right of the entrance, and the area is covered with small stones.
The new altar was designed by Augustine Raygoza. Funds and materials for the refurbishment were donated by parishioners. The tabernacle, in which the monstrance holding Jesus is housed, was built by volunteer Ken McCarten from surplus teakwood parishioner Mike Doyle used when he built his home in Gray.
Perpetual adoration was established at St. Mary in 1993. Pat Jewett served as coordinator of volunteers for 20 years. Barbara Clifton currently fills the position.
The first worship area was located on the lower level of the rectory.
It was moved to the present location in the school building in 1996.
More than 400 parishioners have participated in perpetual adoration.
Nearly 100 are currently scheduled each week. The chapel is closed only when weather makes streets dangerous to negotiate.
Volunteers on the committee who planned and executed the refurbishment included Barbara Clifton, Steve and Genae Helmbrecht, Jeannette Halkowitz, Ann Barrowclough, Joan Reiser, Jo Ann Lawson, Mel LaRocco, and Ana Smith.