COLUMBIANA - In only two week's time members of St. Jude Parish on Seventh Street have raised $36,500 toward the church's roof renovation project.
The 42-year old building's flat roof and shingles have never been replaced, and water is leaking into the sanctuary, foyer and area around the activity center.
Jim Farina, engineer and member of the roof committee, said the roof should have been replaced 20 years ago. He also attends the parish and recalls a time when he was seated in the sanctuary and water began leaking onto his head.
"There were certain places you couldn't sit in church because of leaking," he said.
Joe Knight, parish member and maintenance employee, said the leakage problems began about 14 years ago.
"We know where the problems are, we just don't know how bad (they are)," Farina said.
He explained that with a flat roof it is hard to get up underneath it in order to determine the extent of the damage. The roof must be torn away, section by section, to do so.
It is not the parish's first time to attempt a roof renovation project. Two years ago proposals were solicited from three contractors, but there wasn't enough money to move forward. There was also no roof committee to help move things along.
The first attempt was made not long after the women's guild was in the building and a section of tile fell onto a table during the meeting. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
The guild donated $1,000 to open an account for the roof fund then.
The parish must raise half of the project's cost in cash before the Catholic Diocese in Youngstown will approve the parish for a loan for the remainder, Farina said.
He is estimating the project at $200,000.
The project was resurrected a few months ago and letters were sent to parishioners requesting cash donations and pledges. Three public meetings have already been held to go over the details.
Knight said Farina and his wife Mary have been "instrumental" in getting the project started again.
"The support has been great," Farina said.
The roof will only be replaced over the sanctuary, foyer and around the activity center.
Farina said the section over the activity center will not need to be replaced since it was replaced after high winds blew it off four years ago. The office area that was constructed in 2001 is also no included in the project.
The flat roof is about 8,500 square feet, and the shingled portion is about 6,000 square feet, Farina said.
He also said that if the parish is not able to come up with half of the project cost in cash by July 1 it will be too late to start the project this year since work should begin no later than Sept. 1.
But he and others are optimistic.
"We can move pretty quickly. We can take donations from anybody," he said.
Fundraisers, including additional Bingo events and a golf outing will also support the project.
Once construction begins, mass will continue to be held in the building, as the roof will be replaced one section at a time, Farina said.
St. Jude Parish has been a part of Columbiana County since 1960, when parishioners met in Leetonia. The parish was formed in 1966, and the first mass was held at Joshua Dixon Elementary. The church on Seventh Street was dedicated in 1970 and the activity center was dedicated 10 years later.
Louis A. Cosentino, D.P.M., was instrumental with the formation of the church and has attended since its inception. In 1986 he was appointed permanent deacon and is still fulfilling that appointment. He has lived in Columbiana since 1948, when he and his wife Anita moved to the city so he could open his own podiatry practice. He retired from the practice after 40 years.
Several men have served as pastor over the years and other deacons include Eugene Basile and Dr. Terry Coulter.
There are currently around 700 families attending the parish at 180 Seventh St. It can be reached at 330-482-2351.