Friday, November 12, 2010

Last Mass In San Miguel Church

By John Larson

SOCORRO – Last Sunday Father Andy Pavlak performed the last Mass for a long time in the San Miguel Church building. As of this week, services will be held in the Parish Hall, “maybe for the next five years,” he said. “Our beautiful old adobe church is in danger of falling down.”
On October 29 our adobe specialist, Antonio Martinez and an engineer did another assessment on the condition of the adobe walls,” Pavlak said. “We got the word on Friday it should be closed as soon as possible. With the moisture sample and problems with the beams and continuing problems in the walls it was determined that we have to close the church. The ultimate goal is to keep people safe.
“I got permission to use it through the weekend, and after the last Mass on Sunday morning the altars and statues were moved over to the Parish Hall. Everybody pitched in and helped,” Pavlak said. “We’ll be moving the crucifixion scene, and then eventually the pews.”
He said the basketball hoops will be removed and the Parish Hall will be regarded indefinitely as the permanent sanctuary.
“This is just another step in the process to save the building. We have no choice. We’re concerned with the south wall and north wall, and the two main beams holding up the sanctuary roof,” Pavlak said. “The fact that we made cuts in the wall adobe is better than being completely covered with detrimental plaster and stucco.”
He said there is a basic idea on what has to be done, “but do not know at this point how we are to proceed.”
“We are waiting right now for prioritization on what to do first,” Pavlak said. “The roof may have to be braced. The floor will need to be done over. We’ll have to take out a lot of concrete and bad plaster. Take out broken adobe bricks, and then replaster.
“We’re talking about years and years of bad decisions in the maintenance of this old structure,” he said. “No disrespect intended. It’s what people thought was the best thing to do at the time.”
Pavlak said the church has “about $200,000 in the building fund account.
“Hopefully it will get us through to some point. After that we’ll look to a vigorous fund raising plan,” he said. “We always appreciate the great and supportive people of San Miguel.”

Photo of Parish Hall by Gary Jaramillo

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