Monday, June 16, 2014

Church Rebuilt Two Years After Fire

Church destroyed by fire
A tragic fire in July of 2012 left the community at St. Mary Magdalen of Kentwood, Michigan without a church.  A fireworks accident caused a fire that destroyed the sanctuary and most of the church building.  All items in the church were lost, including books, pews, altars, and vestments. St. Mary Magdalen parish worked together to plan and build a new church.

The church hired Gilbert Sunghera, SJ as a liturgical consultant for the new church.  Gilbert visited Henninger's to see its warehouse and determine if there was anything useful to the project.  What he found was a travertine Altar that was originally from St. Christine Church in Euclid, Ohio. 

St. Christine Altar
Gilbert designed an Altar of Sacrifice, Tabernacle Altar, and Ambo for St. Mary Magdalen Church.  The design incorporated the mensa from St. Christine and used its shape as an inspiration for the other pieces of furniture.  Each element featured a travertine top with a wood base and steel reveal.

Ambo design
Altar of Sacrifice design
Tabernacle Altar design
Species of wood and finishes for the wood and steel were selected.  The Altars and Ambo were built in Henninger's shop and packed for delivery and installation.
Work in Henninger's shop
Each of the pieces were installed during the week of June 2nd.  Henninger's crew was able to meet the pastor, Rev. Godfrey Onyekwere and learn about the rebuilding process.  The church brought together a very skilled team of architects, craftsmen, labors, and and artists to create its new worship space.

Most. Rev. David Walkowiak, bishop of the Grand Rapids Diocese, dedicated the new church and its Altar.  Bishop Walkowiak is a native of Cleveland, and formerly a priest in the Diocese of Cleveland.  When he learned that the mensa from the Altar was originally from St. Christine Church of Euclid, he recognized the stone and remembered saying mass on it years before. 

Altar of Sacrifice

Altar of Sacrifice

Tabernacle Altar
Tabernacle Altar

Henninger's is proud to have been a part of this wonderful story.  St. Mary Magdalen Church will stand tall for many years and its parishioners have an impressive worship space to celebrate the mass.

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