Historical, painted murals add to St. Joe’s décor

Built in 1911, Saint Joseph Catholic Church has not seen many significant updates since the 1960s, until now, and will be hosting an open house this Sunday for the public to view the new renovations.

Rachel Barber, Coordinator of Regional Life in Petersburg Parishes, said the building itself had some cracks and things that needed to be taken care of, but cosmetically there was a universal hatred for one aspect.

“It was painted mint green,” Barber said. “It was a color you don’t find in nature.”

The church worked with Blanck Studios of Ixonia, Wis., which also played a huge role in the improvements of the Auglaize County Courthouse.

“There’s new floor coverings, ended up with new pews, they ended up not just painting the building, but adding a lot of decorative painting features,” Barber said.

Barber explained that the renovations took place over about a seven month period.

“The last Sunday that people were in here for church was Mother’s Day,” she said. “They were able to be back in here for the third Sunday of Lent, so they were gone for quite a while.”

Rev. Pat Sloneker said everybody pitched in to help make the renovation possible.

“We had a team of parishioners put together to lead the renovation team, and they worked with Garmann Miller Architects, so Garmann Miller was with us from the very early stages of the program and the projects,” he said.

The open house was intended to take place last weekend to coincide with the Epiphany, but due to the winter weather was postponed a week.

“It’s going to be great. We’re going to have a harpist, Nancy Glick, she’s coming down from Arlington, and she’s’ a beautiful harpist,” Barber said.

Although the weather disrupted the event from being held to correspond with the visitation of the Magi, the Catholic Church is still in the Christmas season.

“This weekend is the feast of the baptism of the Lord, so she’ll (Glick) be playing Christmas music and epiphany music,” Barber said.

The open house is set to take place on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall, Parish Life Center.

“We will have Epiphany treats like King Cake and other seasonal refreshments, and activities for kids and things like that,” Barber said. “People will be allowed to walk around and see everything. For people who attend here, they don’t necessarily walk up and see these murals very closely, so they can get up and look at that and see how things are all laid out now.”

Rev. Sloneker said the new space will benefit the members of the church during their times of worship.

“The space itself gives greater glory to God in every way,” he said. “For the poor and the rich who worship here; it puts us back in touch with our history because there are a number of design cues that are historical, for example, the murals.”

Barber said one fun aspect of the renovations was the Facebook page she started to help keep people informed.

“When the renovations started, we established a parish Facebook page and people really like that,” she said. “Someone told me recently that it just makes her feel so much more connected to the parish.”

St. Joseph makes up part of the Petersburg Pastoral Region, along with St. Lawrence Immaculate Conception in Botkins and Rhine.

According to Barber, St. Joseph is also celebrating it’s 175 anniversary this year, and a lot of events and celebrations will recognize that.

“We’re going to have a speaker series in March, and the Bishop is coming in April, just lots of different things that kind of look back, and things that look ahead to the future,” Barber said.