Parish full of trades-workers volunteer their time, talent, and treasure
By Nathan Rumohr
The B.C. Catholic
In the early Church the faithful offered up what little they could to maintain their Church community. Parishioners at Holy Cross Parish in Burnaby followed that example by offering themselves for their community, but it wasn't a little; it was a lot.
Parish priest Father Maciej Wos, SDS, planned for a "very costly" renovation at Holy Cross Parish in Burnaby before Easter. After meeting with the parish's planning committee he knew the work: retiling the floor of the sanctuary, redoing the sound system, and rebuilding the sidewalk, would cost the parish approximately $40,000. However after many donations and the work of volunteers, the parish only spent $200 on a few cans of paint.
"The parishioners at Holy Cross have pride in their church," said Father Wos. He still couldn't quite believe that his flock would step up and take on such an expensive undertaking. "Parishioners were moved by the teamwork and community shown."
Father Wos said he was blessed with having an organized maintenance committee headed by Carmelo Mattiazzo, a retired contractor.
"Carmelo was the first one on the job and the last one to leave," Father Wos bragged.
Mattiazzo headed a crew of former tradesmen, many of whom attended Holy Cross. Also parishioners who owned construction companies donated supplies and labourers.
"There is such a collection of trades-workers in our parish," Father Wos explained. "I asked them to help and they made sure that things were done properly and I wasn't ripped off."
"You don't do this work for yourself but for your community," Matiazzo added. He also said the parish wanted to do the work because of their admiration for Father Wos. "There are still good people in the parish."
But Father Wos said the parishioners are the ones that make Holy Cross a good parish. "I will be gone one day from this parish, but it's the families of Holy Cross that make this church great."
Father Wos was also impressed at how hard the volunteers worked on the renovation. He joked that many of them probably never worked as hard at their day jobs. "Each and every day they arrived here with the same driven enthusiasm, working together toward a common goal, our church sanctuary."
He said the volunteers bonded over the three-week renovations. The crew enjoyed the camaraderie so much that the parish is looking into other projects.
Overall Father Wos was amazed at how supportive the parish was. "I can honestly say that in any of my previously assigned parishes this is the very first time I have experienced such an outpouring of support from a congregation.
"This project turned out to be not only a completed renovation, but an immense testimony as to the giving of one's time, talent, and treasure."