For more than half a century, the facade of St. Anthony's Church on E. North Street, corner Fremont Avenue, remained in the dark at night.
Instrumental in this major change is the Italian Catholic Federation by way of a generous donation. But it was the decision of church pastor, Father Chad Wahl, who made the visual transformation a reality.
ICF president Jim Alfiero explained how that happened. He said that in reviewing the group's coffers, they realized that there was quite a substantial amount that they could donate to the church. However, they did not have any specific idea how or where the amount could be used. They figured the pastor would know where the money is best utilized. Father Chad's decision was to use the $17,000 plus to improve the lighting inside the church, which included visually highlighting the large stained-glass window up front.
And, voila, there was new light galore.
About two weeks ago, a work crew finished removing the old incandescent light bulbs from the lighting fixtures suspended from the church's high ceiling and replacing them with LEDs (light-emitting diodes). The brighter and clearer LEDs, plus all the cleaning done on the bowl lamps' dust collected through the years, created a dramatic lighting transformation within this place of worship. Not only was all the lighting improved; the new installations also translated into energy savings and, ultimately, a lower electric bill for the parish.
The highlight of all the above lighting improvements involved bringing to life, so to speak, the large stained glass window facing East North Street. Father Chad made that possible by installing a powerful spotlight focused on the stained-glass image of the Blessed Mother with St. Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of the parish, kneeling in a prayerful gesture before her.
The lighting technique makes the large colorful stained-glass window visible in all its divine glory for all to see outside at night. Father Chad explained that the spotlight is programmed so that it automatically turns on when it gets dark, and then off in the morning to save energy.
Lighting donation is just
one of many given by ICF
The ICF branch at St. Anthony's - the group is a national religious organization - which was established decades ago, soon after the church was built in the early 1950s, has been a perennial supporter of the parish. The lighting donation is just the latest. Alfieri said the group has given away on a yearly basis scholarship money to help the families of St. Anthony School students who are in need of a financial leg up to continue sending their children to the Catholic campus., and to assist graduating high school students in their efforts to go on to college. The qualified graduates have to be children of grandchildren of ICF members, and must meet a GPA (grade point average) requirement.
ICF are able to support these causes, thanks to donations collected through their fund-raisers, such as the shrimp feed set for April.