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After a decade of saving to pay for interior restorations to their church, parishioners of Most Holy Redeemer Parish in East Boston saw their efforts come to fruition with a July 30 Mass celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley at which he blessed the finished work.
The renovations, begun in January and completed this spring, were "extensive" and focused on restoring the sanctuary, pastor Father Thomas Domurat, told The Pilot Aug. 1.
Work performed by Baker Liturgical Art, LLC included the restoration of six statues, the installation of a reredos, a new ambo, chairs, and baptismal font, as well as new lighting, flooring, and gold leafing.
Because the sanctuary "was very deteriorated, there was a great deal of work that had to be done on the walls and a great deal of preparation work that had to be done before they could do the decorating," Father Domurat explained.
The parish relied on small donations from parishioners to pay for the interior renovations, saving for around ten years before starting the project.
"Anything we do here is based on a lot of sacrifice from our people," Father Domurat said.
The exterior of the church was also recently renovated, with restorations taking place in stages over the last ten years. Last year, a new roof was put on the church, and prior to that, the painting, pointing, and restorations to the bell tower took place, all paid for through a loan.
Father Domurat said there was a "nice turnout" at the Mass celebrated by the cardinal, which was held on the same weekend as the annual parish festival. He added that during the Mass, the cardinal pointed out that the church was originally built by the Irish immigrant community over 150 years ago, and has now been restored by another immigrant population, the Hispanic community, for future generations.
Designed by noted church architect Patrick Keely and completed in 1857, Most Holy Redeemer was the first Catholic church to be built in East Boston, a neighborhood that had only begun to be developed in the 1830s.
The community is "very happy" with the interior renovations, said Father Domurat.
"It's very beautiful. It's a fitting place for the worship of God," he said. "It's really restoring some of the features that were there before."