St. Leonard, North End reopening after renovation

NORTH END -- After an extensive multi-million-dollar renovation project, St. Leonard Church in Boston's North End is officially reopening during a Dec. 17 Mass to be celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley.

The completion of the project marks of the most extensive restorations of the church since its construction in 1885.

Completed in December, the renovation of the church saw the refurbishment of the stained-glass windows and gilt ceiling, and the restoration of frescoes throughout the church. The worn wooden floor has been replaced with white porcelain. All plaster work has been restored and new wiring has been installed with lighting enhanced by new ceiling fixtures.

A major change is the arrangement of handmade pews to form a center aisle and the elimination of side aisles, meant to give the church a more spacious look.

The marble altar, once located in St. Anthony Chapel, has been completely restored and now resides in the sanctuary of the church. Elements of the railing in the former lower chapel have been incorporated into a baptismal font and a podium both surmounted by white marble.

Special attention has been given to people with disabilities with access ramps throughout the church and a lavatory installed for the convenience of the public.

Cardinal O'Malley will bless the church and consecrate the altar during the Dec. 17 noon Mass, which will be open to the public and will mark the official reopening of St. Leonard Church. Light refreshments will be served following the Mass and ceremony.