It's not surprising that St. Joseph is Mark Mies' favorite saint. But what is surprising to him is the way our Church will soon reflect the spirit of St. Joseph when renovations are complete.
"The life of St. Joseph is front and center in these renovations," Mark says. "It's going to be amazing."
Mark is one of two St. Joseph parishioners in their third year of the archdiocesan five-year diaconate program (Tom Greer is the other candidate for the diaconate; both are shown in photo above). As a deacon, Mark may someday enjoy the privilege of being on the altar in our renovated Church.
Mark notes that the new stained glass windows depicting the life of St. Joseph and the Holy Family will help parishioners understand more about St. Joseph. Other representations of St. Joseph will appear in devotional areas. The earthly father of Jesus represents the ultimate in "silent obedience," Mark says.
"Nowhere in the Bible is Joseph ever quoted as saying a thing, yet he took his wife and newborn son to Egypt in the middle of the night after an angel appeared to him in a dream," Mark says. Joseph obeyed. "It's not like they had an SUV to escape in."
Transformation of our Church
On a recent tour of the St. Joseph Church construction with the fundraising committee, Mark was awed by the enormous work that has been underway in the sanctuary over the past several months. "The sheer volume of the scaffolding is incredible," Mark says. He viewed the sanctuary at a stage where he could see "the bones of the Church," and he's confident the installation of fire suppression, sound and lighting systems in the ceiling and sanctuary perimeter will transform the worship experience for parishioners, and replace antiquated systems.
Mark was also impressed by the lighting and sound systems being installed. "There will be six times more light in the Church than we have had, and we will clearly hear every word spoken or sung from anywhere in the Church," he says.
As a cantor, Mark is especially excited to sing in the Church.
"I've been singing in that Church since 1988, and there are places in the Church where you couldn't be heard. Now that I've seen the systems that are going in, people will hear well no matter where they sit," Mark says.
Honoring the past and future members of our Church
Mark and his wife, Gail, serve the parish in multiple ministries and have a deep reverence for the legacy of St. Joseph Church in the community as a giving, welcoming community. On a recent trip to Montreal, Mark and Gail visited the St. Joseph Basilica, the largest church dedicated to St. Joseph in North America. They were awestruck at the way the story of St. Joseph was incorporated into the basilica, and they believe our Church renovations will have a similar effect on our parishioners.
"What a very delightful way to honor the past members of our parish," Mark explains. "Our renovated Church will be very welcoming from the street, and with the clear glass doors leading into the sanctuary from the narthex, it's our way to invite people in to celebrate with us."
Mark understands the duty of current parishioners to continue inviting people into our faith community. "We have been given so much by our predecessors," he explains, "and now, because of the vision of the building committee, Fr. Mike and the generosity of our parishioners, we'll know we're being good guardians of our past by preparing this Church for the future."