Rorate Caeli

You Suggest: Help a jewel of a church in West Virginia renovate its organ

The following email was sent to us by a reader. You may remember back in the summer Rorate visited this church and posted about it. Catholic churches in West Virginia are typically anything but beautiful. To say this church is a jewel is an understatement. This Advent, consider opening your hearts, and your wallets, to help restore this organ and keep the church thriving in the future. It is the only diocesan parish in the entire state with a weekly Sunday Traditional Latin Mass!

From a reader:

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Weston, West Virginia, is working to renovate and expand its pipe organ.  Weston is a small town in central West Virginia, with an historically strong Catholic population.  St. Patrick’s is currently the only diocesan parish with a weekly Sunday TLM.  The pastor, Fr. James DeViese (whose responsibilities include three parishes, a school, and work in the Diocesan chancery), seeks to encourage a greater “mutual enrichment” between the two forms of the Roman Rite, while managing the limited resources of a small parish. 

The overall cost of the pipe organ renovation project is $187,000.  With down payments made and contracts signed, the parish needs to raise $150,000 to complete the project.  The work will include a complete renovation of the current instrument (a 1952 Möller), the building of a new console, and the digital expansion of the instrument with works being carried out by Walker Technical and Colby-Sterner Organs. 

To give some context, Weston, WV, is a town of roughly 4,500 people, around 10% of whom are Catholic.  The parish currently draws from surrounding communities, and has around 350 families, making it a mid-sized parish for a diocese that boasts fewer than 80,000 Catholics total.  Lewis County, WV, has a median household income of around $33,000 per year, which is almost half the median income of the United States!

Being in a heavily-Protestant area, and with few economic opportunities to keep young families in the State, Catholics in West Virginia are an increasingly-ageing population.  That having been said, the average age at St. Patrick’s has decreased since the introduction of the Traditional Latin Mass, and this has led to renewed interest in building up a sacred music program worthy of the liturgy. 

Father and his parish are most grateful for any assistance that can be given.  If every Rorate Coeli reader made even a modest donation, it would help ensure the preservation of the sacred liturgy in a region of the country that is very much in need of something beautiful and transcendent!