The Archdiocese of Newark is undertaking repairs to Sacred Heart Church at the Archdiocesean Youth Center on Belgrove Drive at Quincy Ave.
Archdiocesan spokesman Jim Goodness said: “We’re in the middle of a major restoration project. Repairs are needed to the steeple and façade to make sure the structural integrity [is maintained].”
Goodness said that private contributions are financing the project.
“We’ve known for a couple of years that the work was needed,” Goodness said. “Our property management people, an engineering consultant and contractor were involved in the planning and execution of the work.”
That work, Goodness said, includes “resetting mortar, repairing the bell tower and steeple, some roofing issues, concrete work, basic reparation on the outside of the building.”
A building permit application filed at the Kearny Construction Office by the contractor, Arthur Vincent Co., of Nyack, N.Y., amplifies that description a bit, noting that the work involves “removing a slate roof and replacing with shingles” plus “copper cladding for steeple.”
That application lists $165,000 as the construction cost estimate, according to Town Assistant Construction Officer Anthony Chisari.
“The job is progressing,” Goodness said last week. “I don’t have a timeline but it will likely be weather-driven. We expect the building will be repaired sometime before summer.”
Aside from structural upkeep, Goodness said that the timing of the work is also tied to “a very large uptick of activity at our Kearny Youth Center. We are anticipating that over the next year or so, we will host well upwards of 200 retreat groups there when, maybe four years ago, we were doing 60 to 70 a year.”
“We find that everybody [at a retreat] wants to make a final ceremony which takes place in the Sacred Heart Church Chapel, so it’s important to keep it up,” Goodness added.
Although no parish makes its spiritual home at the church, Goodness said that a Saturday evening group meets there and has a regular Sunday vigil Mass celebrated by Monsignor John Gilchrist, who lives in the area. He said “about 50 people from Kearny, some of the surrounding towns and elsewhere” make up that group of attendees.
Goodness couldn’t say when the church was built but added that it dates, at least, from the time of the former Kearny-based Boystown facility.
– Ron Leir