Save the Arrows at St. Hyacinth in La Salle – Shaw Local
The ugly orange carpet? Long gone. The black altarpieces? Ancient history. The fake organ? Supported.
Lots of cash and equity has been poured into St. Hyacinth’s Church in La Salle, but now comes a bigger challenge: raising $1.8 million for overdue repairs to the historic church with the doubles distinctive arrows.
The parish kicked off the fundraising campaign at a banquet on Saturday in La Salle, challenging parishioners to dig deep into their pockets and pledge enough money to get the work done by the end of the year. .
It’s not that the church is about to collapse – engineers were impressed with how well it was maintained – but unless the parish invests in capital improvements now, it won’t. there is no guarantee that St. Hyacinth will be there for future generations.
“It is truly remarkable,” said the Very Reverend Tom Otto, pastor. “Polish immigrants who came here with nothing built this magnificent structure. The masonry and plaster are in fairly good condition. But it’s still 130 years old and there are some things that if we don’t work on it soon it’s going to be a problem.
Once the pledges are made, the contractors can undertake to maintain the church for another 130 years or so.
First, a new roof. Next, the workers turn to the facade, securing the masonry and filling in part of the brick face. Finally, contractors will secure the interior masonry and paint the vaulted walls and ceilings.
“It’s already a beautiful church,” Otto said. “We’re going to add an accent color and make it even more majestic.”
The wishlist includes other items such as a new sound system, toilet remodeling and, in a special touch, the illumination of the twin spires. Otto said St. Hyacinth’s is a local landmark and the spiers should be visible from city roads and green spaces, even under cover of night.
The plans were enthusiastically received by some of the dozens of people in attendance at Saturday’s presentation.
“Oh, I love it,” said Nikki Baer de La Salle. “It (the church) needs a lot of love and care so that we can keep it for another 130+ years.”
“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” said Sue Hallen de La Salle, a longtime parishioner. She cited the lighting of the towers in particular, adding, “Going over the bridge will be so cool.”
“I think these are great projects and will be a big hit,” agreed Jim Peters, another St. Hyacinth member for years.
Otto, however, surprised his parishioners on Saturday with good news: the fundraising campaign is already one-third funded thanks to an anonymous donor who has pledged $600,000.
At one point, even keeping the church open felt like a shaky gamble. The assessment was carried out shortly before Otto was assigned to La Salle in 2019 and produced a daunting laundry list – and that was before the pandemic arrived and threw any preliminary schedule out the window .
“I think there was some uncertainty,” Otto recalls, “so we did a feasibility study in early 2020 and the study showed it was doable.
“People have the will and the means to make the necessary repairs and pass on to us what has been passed on to us.