On 10th June 2015, the parish church in Ardeer suffered from severe smoke damage. The whole church was basically covered in soot. The smell was overwhelming.
Catholic Church Insurance, the church’s insurer, was called in and the restoration process began. Olga Jursa, the president of the parish council, and project manager, Marika Makohon, took charge of the process to restore the church to its original beauty. When there were difficulties with contractors, Bill Kusznirczuk, chairman and Chief Commissioner of the Victorian Building Authority, stepped in and got the process on track again.
The carpets were replaced; the chandeliers were taken apart piece by piece and cleaned to make them look sparkling new. The icons were restored by professionals, the church was repainted, the vestments were dry cleaned, and those items destroyed by fire were rebuilt.
Top to bottom, the church now looks just like the day it was built.
On Sunday 13th December 2015, Bishop Peter Stasiuk, along with Pastor Fr. Zenon Chorkawyj and Deacon Justin McDonnell, celebrated a Divine Liturgy and rededicated the church which had only been finished two days before.
In his homily, Bishop Peter thanked all who had helped to restore the church. He also went on to remind the faithful that now that the church had been completely restored, it was the parish community’s role to restore the parish itself. An effort was made to this goal at the Eparchial meeting just days before. He asked the parish to rededicate themselves, to be open to the Holy Spirit, and to work with the Spirit to make the parish a “Vibrant Parish”.
At the breakfast after the liturgy, several speakers expressed their joy at seeing the church as beautiful as it was at present. Some commented on the strength of the local community and expressed a faith in the future.
Photo credit – Steve Starek