Preserving the Heart of Nazareth

Posted by Kacie Emmerson

September 12, 2022

“Supporting the renovation of St. Vincent de Paul Church is just one way we can give back to this sacred, beautiful place that has touched the lives of so many.” – Mary Florence Barnes, donor

Over the past year, St. Vincent de Paul Church at the heart of Nazareth Motherhouse Campus in Kentucky has been the focus of a campaign to raise an estimated $600,000 for significant repairs to the roof, ceilings, walls, and flooring. Through the generosity of numerous donations toward the renovation campaign and unrestricted gifts to the Congregation, this goal has been met!

“Since 1854, St. Vincent de Paul Church has stood as the center of prayer for the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth,” said Spalding Hurst, director of the Office of Mission Advancement. “Behind the beautiful architecture of this holy sanctuary, plaster and roof repairs were needed and necessary.” The renovation campaign launched on Aug. 1, 2021; since then, more than 1,100 people have contributed to the cause. 

St. Vincent de Paul Church is where Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, associate members, and guests gather for the celebration of the Eucharist as well as for personal and communal prayer. The church hosts celebrations, funerals, and professions of vows, as well as daily Mass.

“The great deeds of the Sisters have spread far and wide for two centuries. For more than 160 of those years, they have emanated from this church,” said Sangeeta Ayithamattam, SCN, president of the Congregation. “Almost every Sister of Charity of Nazareth has experienced a pivotal moment of her life in this sanctuary. By preserving this space, we preserve those joyous memories and make way for many more to come.”

Scaffolding and plastic sheets filled much of the sanctuary in the spring and early summer as interior renovations took place.

The church has also left a lasting impression on members of the public. Mary Florence and Bill Barnes, who contributed to the campaign, have many fond memories of St. Vincent de Paul Church and the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth from their time in religious life. Today, the couple lives just a few miles from the church they consider to be a gift to the community.

“Nazareth is a treasure to the community that must be preserved,” Mary Florence said. “Supporting the renovation of St. Vincent de Paul Church is just one way we can give back to this sacred, beautiful place that has touched the lives of so many. I hope generations to come will have the opportunity to experience the ‘Heart of Nazareth’ just as we have.”

In addition to the replacement of the roof and repairs to damaged areas, the interior of the church has been painted. The church was closed during some of the renovation work, but Mass and celebrations continued for the Sisters at another location on campus. Recently, the Sisters were able to return to the sanctuary. It is the hope of the Congregation to complete all of the renovations, including new carpeting, by Christmas.

In 2023, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth will host a special Mass to honor all of those who have given so graciously to this effort.

“The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth are extremely grateful to all who helped bring these repairs to fruition,” Sister Sangeeta said. “Those who have contributed or who continue to contribute to the church truly honor the Congregation and support the mission of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.”

5 Comments

  1. camille panich

    What wonderful news! Love, prayers, and special blessings to all those who have contributed toward this important project.

    Reply
  2. Name *Joel

    Hopefully this historic monument will becon many to the heart of Nazareth. Thanks to all who donated generously!

    Reply
  3. Bro. Ignatius Perkins, OP, SCNA

    Some thoughts:

    1. Congratulations on this significant achievement. Perhaps the next phase might be the establishment of an endowment to provide for the continuing maintenance of this sacred shrine.

    2. Given the enduring history, legacy and continuing vibrant world-wide mission of the Sisters of Charity of Nazaeth, should the Church be designated a Minor Basilica? Not exactly sure of the process.

    Bro. Ignatius Perkins OP, SCNA

    Reply
  4. Spalding Hurst

    Thanks to everyone for your support of this holy sanctuary. May it continue to serve as a place of solace and prayer long into the future!

    Reply
    • Ann Palatty

      St. Vincent Church is indeed an archeological legacy. We certainly need to preserve it structurally and aesthetically. Thanks for shouldering this magnificent task.

      Reply

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