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One year ago today, on Saturday 15 May 2010, Holy Trinity dedicated our newly remodeled church. The success of this project is due to the vision and wisdom of Father John Hilton.

After the Masses today, we celebrated with the Knights of Columbus the completion of their pledge for the new altar. We thank the Knights for their support and for providing a glorious table for the banquet of our Lord.

During today’s homilies, Father John Hilton announced that he has been reassigned to St. Mary Catholic Church in Aspen, Colorado starting in mid-June. Father Hilton has had only a year to enjoy the beautiful church he helped bring to Holy Trinity. Since St. Mary Catholic was dedicated on 13 March 1892, it might need a creative vision to make sure it is still standing for it’s 125th anniversary in six years.

Here’s what Father Hilton wrote one year ago in the dedication Mass bulletin:


Does it seem like a long time since we started the renovation of our church? I know that many of us, from the Design Committee to the Finance Council, from our Architect to our dedicated staff, and all those who were involved in the planning and executing this project put forth the best of our efforts and energies. All of us were determined to use our gifts of generosity for the greatest honor of God and to provide future generations of parishioners with a beautiful place in which to worship. We hope that, when you walk into your new church, you will feel that we have achieved our goal, because during all the planning and executing stages we had you, as well as our Lord, in mind.

Traditionally, our Catholic churches have been designed as places of peaceful beauty for two reasons: First, because we instinctively know that God is the Creator of all that is beautiful and, as King David so many centuries ago, we want to honor Him by making for Him a home that is worthy of Him. Second: because when we gather in a beautiful place our minds turn more easily towards God, who is Beauty Himself. Many of our adorers, for instance, tell me that they find rest and gather strength every time they visit the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel: that was our goal, and it has been our goal as we planned, designed and transformed the church. I encourage you to look around, observe all the details, and tell me whether you agree that we have achieved our goal.

You will also notice that we have tried to make the space as comfortable as possible for you: the pews are a little farther apart, so those with long legs will not “bump” in the kneeler behind them. If you pardon me for saying it, I think that the Choir loft not only is beautiful, but it does more justice to the voices of our choir members. How about our confessionals? They are elegant, but more importantly, they will give greater privacy to everyone and the sound-proof wall coverings will make sure that no whisper can be heard outside. We gave special attention to our Marian Chapel, where our beautifully restored statue of the Blessed Virgin finds her home. The raised ceiling, the “clerestory,” with high windows give us more light and greater height. The best part, of course, is our Sanctuary, our new altar area. It is difficult to be distracted during Mass when our eyes are attracted to the exquisite work that required the greatest amount of thought and skill in execution.

Of course, the fact that we now have air conditioning for the Summer will make everyone more comfortable.

I pray that you are thrilled with how our renovated church has turned out. More importantly, I pray that our new church will be a rich source of blessing for you, your children and grandchildren. I again thank you for your generosity and sacrifice, which made all this possible, and I know that those parishioners who will come to the Holy Mass in the future will thank you, just as we thank those who fifty years ago first built the Parish of Holy Trinity that we love. God’s blessings upon you and your family!

Fr. John Hilton and Fr. Carlos Bello

Editor’s note: Click the embedded links for more about Holy Trinity Parish in Westminster and this remodeling project. Thank you to Allan Eckert, Dave Koski and Nancy Thompson for the images.

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Before (2007):

Long Before (original circa 1966):

During (November 2009):

During (January 2010):

After (Far):

After:

For more views of our project, see our Picture of the Day list.

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Click for a larger image

Compare to the before version:

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In today’s bulletin, Father Hilton writes:

Does it seem like a long time since we started the renovation of our church? I know that many of us, from the Design Committee to the Finance Council, from our Architect to our dedicated staff, and all those who were involved in the planning and executing this project put forth the best of our efforts and energies. All of us were determined to use our gifts of generosity for the greatest honor of God and to provide future generations of parishioners with a beautiful place in which to worship. We hope that, when you walk into your new church, you will feel that we have achieved our goal, because during all the planning and executing stages we had you, as well as our Lord, in mind.

Traditionally, our Catholic churches have been designed as places of peaceful beauty for two reasons: First, because we instinctively know that God is the Creator of all that is beautiful and, as King David so many centuries ago, we want to honor Him by making for Him a home that is worthy of Him. Second: because when we gather in a beautiful place our minds turn more easily towards God, who is Beauty Himself. Many of our adorers, for instance, tell me that they find rest and gather strength every time they visit the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel: that was our goal, and it has been our goal as we planned, designed and transformed the church. I encourage you to look around, observe all the details, and tell me whether you agree that we have achieved our goal.

You will also notice that we have tried to make the space as comfortable as possible for you: the pews are a little farther apart, so those with long legs will not “bump” in the kneeler behind them. If you pardon me for saying it, I think that the Choir loft not only is beautiful, but it does more justice to the voices of our choir members. How about our confessionals? They are elegant, but more importantly, they will give greater privacy to everyone and the sound-proof wall coverings will make sure that no whisper can be heard outside. We gave special attention to our Marian Chapel, where our beautifully restored statue of the Blessed Virgin finds her home. The raised ceiling, the “clerestory,” with high windows give us more light and greater height. The best part, of course, is our Sanctuary, our new altar area. It is difficult to be distracted during Mass when our eyes are attracted to the exquisite work that required the greatest amount of thought and skill in execution.

Of course, the fact that we now have air conditioning for the Summer will make everyone more comfortable.

I pray that you are thrilled with how our renovated church has turned out. More importantly, I pray that our new church will be a rich source of blessing for you, your children and grandchildren. I again thank you for your generosity and sacrifice, which made all this possible, and I know that those parishioners who will come to the Holy Mass in the future will thank you, just as we thank those who fifty years ago first built the Parish of Holy Trinity that we love. God’s blessings upon you and your family!

Fr. John Hilton and Fr. Carlos Bello

Editor’s note: Click the embedded links for more about Holy Trinity Parish in Westminster and this remodeling project. Thank you to Allan Eckert, Dave Koski and Nancy Thompson for the images.

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One design issue that the committee worked through is the pews. The pews have been installed, and now that the pews have been installed, we can take time to revisit where we stand our seating.

Shopping for pews is a unique experience. Most of us don’t don’t buy 1071.42 linear feet of oak furniture for our houses. We also don’t have to work with the interesting and demanding building codes which regulate seating installed in a public space.

Holy Trinity has 48 long pews (20′ 7″), four small (13′ 8.5″) pews in the back, and two mid-sized (15′ 3.5″) pews at the front.  These pews have metal kneelers and full end caps. The new pews are spaced to conform to the fire code and to allow for easy access.

The old pews were too close together. They were also too close to the outer walls. Architect Adam Hermanson’s new design has taken care of these challenges.

We accepted the proposal from Ratigan-Schottler Manufacturing, based in the small southeastern Nebraska town of Beatrice.  Click their logo to visit, or download your copy of the their pew catalog.

Ratigan – Schottler Manufacturing
201 S 2nd St
Beatrice, NE  68310-3899

Facebook fans like Gwen can connect to them here.

Allen Eckert has captured a few images that reflect the new beauty of the pews.

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After Monday’s bell ringer orientation, but while the choir was practicing, I captured these images of the nave with the newly installed pews.

Click for a larger image

Image captured 3-May-10.

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