by Joe Bollig
Recently I had the opportunity to visit Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Seneca, one of the most beautiful churches in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.
Parishioners there are justly proud of their Catholic heritage and the beautiful church build by their ancestors. I’m sure if any of them could see the church today, those earlier generations would be very pleased.
The care taken to build the church is continued in its upkeep by the current parishioners and pastor Father Arul Carasala, and previous pastor Father Michael Koller.
Sts. Peter and Paul really is one of those churches of which you could say, “They don’t build ‘em like that any more.”
But they do maintain them.
Under the leadership of Father Carasala and Father Koller, the parishioners undertook a four-phase church renovation project that began in 2012.
The first was fixing the exterior of the church, the second was adding the narthex (gathering space), and the third was the complete but faithful renovation of the interior. The cost of the three phases has been $2.5 million.
Now the parish awaits archdiocesan approval to begin fundraising for phase four: refurbishing six stained-glass windows in the transept (at the front), the total replacement of 12 stained glass windows in the nave (the main body) and six new stained-glass windows in the narthex.
No estimate of the cost is yet available. Heading the windows phase is building committee members Tom and Janet Kramer. Tom is owner of Kramer Construction of Seneca.
The different sections of stained-glass windows look very different in style from each other. In the transept, the windows depict saints. In the nave, they have geometric patterns. This is because the church itself was built in phases, with the nave being the oldest part.
The new windows will match the theme of the windows in the transept, and depict saints. Two of the saints will be, of course, St. Peter and St. Paul.
It was high time to replace the nave windows, said Kramer. More than 100 years of weather have led to rust and deterioration, and the opening and closing of the lower part of the windows have resulted in broken and missing glass.
The new glass will not have lower portions that open. It will be all one window, and the outside layer of clear class will be a tough, thermal layer.
Father Carasala estimates that the project will take two years once the project receives archdiocesan approval. It hasn’t been decided what will happen to the old windows they are replacing.