Are we spending a lot of money that could be put to better use for the needy?
We have money set aside each year for the needy in the community. This is something we do every year - with rent, car repairs, electric and gas bills, emergency accommodation as well as clothes as per the needs of people. This project is not meant to affect the parish's budget which is why it is open to those who wish to support the beautification of the church. The Church will not incur any debt. The cost of the second station was paid for by the parish but will eventually be recouped by the sponsorship of a family or families. No parishioner is required to pay for a station or contribute to one in any way. Having a church that is worthy of God is important to build up our faith which is essential to our reaching out to those in need. When the faith is lost people tend to take less responsibility for their brothers and sisters in needs - that is actually seen in surveys of the giving habits of believers and non-believers or non-practicing believers. One way to understand it is: "If we can't give God our best then we are less likely to give a poor person our best either."
The stations and statues are powerful means of teaching the faith and maintaining our devotion which are two very important parts of the parish’s responsibility. We are very visual and so seeing the sacrifice of Jesus in His Passion and death is a very important aid to teaching the young and the old about what God has done for us. Having the stations restored and painted will make that more striking and apparent to those to whom we wish to pass on the faith.
Who is repairing the statues and stations?
Conrad Schmitt Studios of New Berlin, WI (Wisconsin, USA).
Why did we choose them? Did we look for anyone else to provide bids?
Conrad Schmitt is one of the nation’s top studios for restorations and decoration of churches and public buildings. They are also one of the closest studios to South Dakota and have carried out extensive projects in South Dakota, including in many of our churches and in the cathedral. They are currently working on the State Theatre in Sioux Falls. There are other studios but given their distance from South Dakota, any advantage of a cheaper bid would be lost in higher shipping costs. Conrad Schmitt Studios may be able to take advantage of their work in the area to transport stations if that works into their schedule which will reduce shipping costs even further.
Why are we using a company outside the U.S.?
Conrad Schmitt Studios is based in New Berlin, WI (Wisconsin). Although Wisconsin is Packer Land it is still a part of the United States of America (even though Viking fans would rather see Green Bay invaded by Canada)!!!
Aren't there comparable companies here?
What would it cost to buy new rather than get these refurbished?
Companies do not give list prices for these items in their catalogs but a set of stations of such size and quality would cost considerably more than restoring them. Don’t forget that the statues and stations are part of the parish’s heritage, one which the parish chose to retain when the new church was built. It is part of our duty to maintain, repair and beautify this legacy left us by past generations of parishioners. The simple truth is that it is very hard and expensive to purchase modern statues or stations of the same quality as what we have.
Why are we updating these? Is it simply for looks, general wear and tear and/or for accuracy in historical art?
It is a combination of things: some stations and statues were slightly damaged at some point either during the move from the old church or due to the original position they hung from in the new church, while the paint on some of the stations is beginning to crack and will continue to do so. Another consideration was that of adding to the beauty of the church. A church should be a place of beauty, as it should reflect the beauty of God to whom we come to pray; it should not be like any nondescript conference room, auditorium or strip mall. That experience of the beauty of the Church can be one of the factors that help people, particularly the young, to grasp something of the specialness and the holiness of God and help them decide for Him. A recent survey of youth in England showed that 41% of them described themselves as Christian; one of the factors that inspired their faith was the beauty of the churches they had visited.
The stations are graphic descriptions of the suffering and death of Jesus. In our visual age, many of our children and youth are impacted by the stations; having the stations restored to its original state in color will be an aid to them, their parents, and catechists. There is a catechetical element to this project. It can be a very helpful aid to the passing of the faith and the fostering of devotion in the minds and hearts of the young and old alike. Art has always been a powerful means of teaching the faith and helping the soul to pray. Saint Teresa of Avila, whose order was very austere, made sure that each nun’s cell had a painting as she discovered that the paintings greatly helped their prayer and devotion.
Is this project unnecessary and excessive?
Our church is very beautiful; which is something that many visitors comment on. But just as a beautiful home is made more beautiful by the pictures, furniture, statues and plants so too we can add to the beauty of the church over time. In that sense, it is not excessive or unnecessary. And we will not require anyone to pay for this is project; it is completely voluntary.
Is every parishioner expected to pay for the stations and statues?
No, it is completely voluntary.
How long will it take to get the item back?
That will depend on the backlog of work at their studios. The first two stations took a month to finish.
How much does it cost to update each item?
That will depend on the extent of repairs and paintwork required. However, at the moment the cost of a statue will range from $6,000 to $9,000; the cost of a station is $6812.00.
Please note that statues or stations can be shared between two or three families or individuals.
How much does shipping/freight cost?
That will vary between statues and the number of stations we transport at a time. The first two stations were transported by Conrad Schmitt Studios so that we had to pay for minimal expenses for shipping and insurance. We hope that we can ship a number of stations at a time which will allow for shipping in crates which will be cheaper and safer.
Can I donate towards these updates?
Yes. You have the option to fully or partially sponsor a station or statue. You can also make large or small donation to help with shipping, insurance and perhaps help cover the cost of a station.
Can I donate a portion or does it need to be the full cost?
A family or individual may choose to donate the full cost, half of the cost, or a third of the cost, thereby sharing the expense with another family.
A donor may pay the full amount in one payment or make a down payment of 50% of the cost or their portion of the cost. Once the statue or station is completed the donors can pay the remainder over a three-year period.
There are multiple sponsorship options:
We will also have a type of payment plan:
If I donate, will my name be recognized or can I remain anonymous?
The sponsors of the stations and statues will be asked to name the deceased person whom they wish to honor. In cases of shared sponsorship between two or three families or individuals the statue or station will be named in honor of the two or three people they wish remembered. They may also wish to have the statue or station sponsored in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Lady or a saint, or in thanksgiving to God, or in reparation. Those intentions will be placed on a plaque which will be located in the foyer. Some examples:
All donors, large and small, will be listed in a separate portion of the plaque, asking people to pray for them. Donors may wish to remain anonymous and can ask that their names not be included.