In March 2021, an existing priest client of ours called our owner to travel to New Jersey to inspect a 142-year-old church that was closing in Asbury Park, the Holy Spirit Catholic Church. Holy Spirit was once a thriving Irish Catholic parish, started in 1880. However, as time passed, the parish declined and eventually was closed. Inside this historic church was a massive and elegant white marble sanctuary, which our client wanted to dismantle, modify, and move to St Dominic parish 20 miles south in Brick, NJ.
In August of 2022, Rugo mobilized at Holy Spirit and created a detailed as-built set of drawings for the entire sanctuary. Shortly after that, our skilled crews meticulously dismantled the marble rear altar, the altar of sacrifice, the side chapels, the statues, and the monumental altar rail and gates.
Rugo created an onsite cleaning and cataloging facility, and as we dismantled the marble, we carefully cleaned, patched, and restored the marble. Next, Rugo placed each stone in custom crates, sorted each liturgical item, and shrink-wrapped the crates. Once the team finished crating, we trucked the stone to Brick, NJ, and placed it in storage. This dismantling and cleaning process took nine weeks, working 12 hours days, six days a week. No pieces were broken in the process.
The reinstallation process in Brick, NJ, started on January 26, 2023, and we completed the installation on April 27th, just a few days before the Easter Holiday celebration.
Rugo’s skilled team worked six days a week to install all the CMU and red brick masonry support, along with the vast amounts of heavy and fragile marble. Rugo also fabricated a new sanctuary floor of Bianco Carrara and Red Jasper marbles. Our fabrication studio worked tirelessly to shop dry set the various side shrines, wainscot, and altar rail. They made selective and precise cuts to reformat the size for the parish’s available space.
The restoration of the bas relief carving of the “Last Supper” involved carving some delicate missing and damaged elements such as fingers, missing facial features, and a missing 2” tall statue head. This skilled carving work involved restoring all the fine art elements. There were a total of nine mini statues which had damaged heads and body parts. Our team carved, using matching white marble for each missing part, epoxied, and hand finished to blend the new additions seamlessly.
The result is a stunning new sanctuary performed in half the typical time. Our client is delighted with the work and the extreme efforts made to achieve completion before Easter 2023. Rugo takes great pride in meeting clients’ schedules and quality expectations for all the sacred spaces we restore and repurpose.