Interior Restorations Begin at Holy Cross Church in Federal Hill

| January 11, 2018 | 5 Comments

The Catholic Community of South Baltimore has started interior restorations on Holy Cross, a nearly 160-year-old, 22,640 sq. ft. church at 108 E. West St. in Federal Hill. The restoration will include extensive plaster and tin tile work; lowering and relocating the Stations of the Cross, which has a date of 1876 inscribed on the back; and a new paint job with a new color scheme. Regularly scheduled Sunday masses at Holy Cross will be moved to St. Mary, Star of the Sea at 1400 Riverside Ave. in Federal Hill during the project.

This project has been in the works for about five years and began when the church started experiencing water damage. Prior to being able to start the interior restorations, Holy Cross repointed its exterior bricks, replaced the sanctuary roof, and unclogged and diverted an original clay gutters. “It’s been a long time coming,” said Jennifer Smolen, director of development of stewardship at the Catholic Community of South Baltimore.

The project is being led by John Tiedemann, Inc. which has performed many church restorations in the area, including at the Transfiguration Catholic Community Parish on W. Hamburg St., and worked with the Archdiocese of Baltimore on many projects. The team at Tiedemann will tackle the front of the church with the altar and sanctuary in phase one. Holy Cross is hoping to have this completed in time for Easter Mass.

The second phase will include painting the nave, which is the area with pews and where the congregation sits.

The project is funded through donations and Archdiocese of Baltimore grants. Donations can be made online SouthBaltimoreCatholic.org.

The new mass schedule during renovations is:

Saturdays:  St. Mary, Star of the Sea at 530 pm

Sundays:  St. Mary, Star of the Sea at 9am; Our Lady of Good Counsel at 11am; St. Mary, Star of the Sea at 5pm

The Catholic Community of South Baltimore is made of Holy Cross, St. Mary, Star of the Sea, and Our Lady of Good Counsel at 1532 E. Fort Ave. in Locust Point, as well as Sisters of St. Joseph Convent at 1410 Riverside Ave., and Holy Cross Cemetery at 6020 Ritchie Hwy. in Brooklyn Park.

Also underway is the installation of a new boiler at St. Mary, Star of the Sea which will be completed this week. Upcoming projects include replacing the flooring and sub-flooring at Our Lady of Good Counsel, restoring the Bell Tower at St. Mary, Star of the Sea, and replacing the boiler at Holy Cross.

The halls at Holy Cross and Our Lady of Good Counsel were also completely renovated in recent years.

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  • James Hunt

    Beautiful — would love to see Star of the Sea get similar treatment … the stained glass window behind the altar is extraordinary!

    • Kevin Lynch

      Star of the Sea is the church that is in the best cosmetic shape, beautiful! Have you visited recently?

      • Bryan

        Yes but it is showing it’s age too. The tile floor is cracking with holes showing. There is some water damage by the windows. It’s a pretty church but it is need of some attention including paint and floor restoration.
        Holy Cross’ work has been a long time coming. It is the more used church and also the one more in disrepair. I’m glad to see that it will get the attention that’s long overdue.

      • James Hunt

        Huh. Gotta admit, it’s been a little over a year since I went to 5 o’clock Mass there. Will have to go back. I guess I was put off somewhat by the 70s era wreckovation that replaced the high altar (like the one Holy Cross has) with the little picnic table, etc. and so my sense of the issues there was probably shaded by that. Thanks for the note.

        • Kevin Lynch

          I’ll have to take a closer look now that there will be more chances to check it out.