While major works are underway at some of the oldest churches in Orange one of our newest is also undergoing significant renovations.
St Mary's Catholic Church in Park St, built in 1984, is seeing major reconstruction works inside plus the building of a multipurpose gathering area at the entrance.
Parish priest Father Greg Bellamy said it was the first major upgrade the building has had since it was constructed.
"After many years of use, the main body of St Mary's has suffered from a lot of wear and tear," he said.
He said the building had suffered from condensation issues in the windows, severe water damage in the ceiling, perished carpet, non-functional shutters, and a deteriorating audio-visual system.
"The renovations will also expand the musicians and choir area. An important priority is the redesign of previously enclosed spaces to ensure they meet contemporary professional standards requirements," he said.
The front is being transformed into an enclosed gathering space. "This is an important addition for a community located in a cold climate like Orange," he said.
"This space will allow groups to gather during the week as well as providing a space for welcoming and hospitality before and after masses, funerals, and weddings.
"After funerals, mourners will now be able to stand indoors after the service."
He said large windows would provide views of Orange given the church's elevated position.
Fr Bellamy said the landscaping would include a drop-off area next to the church for the elderly and disabled.
He said it was intended the work would be finished and the church re-opened by the end of August.
"This project is a symbol of our parish's vision for growth and vitality into the future. A new welcoming space that is warm, multi-functional and modern will be a great asset to the Catholic community in Orange for decades to come," he said.
Meanwhile work is virtually completed on restoring a wall outside St Josephs church.
However Fr Bellamy said one cap on the wall at the corner of Byng and Hill streets needed to be installed.
"The original was vandalised years ago," he said.
"The cap includes a striking ceramic image of the world and Christ's cross. We are patiently waiting for an exact replica to be produced and installed."
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