Historic Butchertown church raising $2.7 million to save steeples
Major renovations are needed to a historic church in the Butchertown neighborhood. St. Joseph Catholic Church is raising $2.7 million to repair its steeples.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The twin steeples of St. Joseph Church in Butchertown are the tallest twin spires in Louisville, but the iconic landmark needs $2.7 million dollars worth of renovations. Now the parish is looking to the community to save the steeples.
As the sun filters through the ornate stain-glass windows of St. Joseph Catholic Church, the brilliant gold glistens from the altar welcoming visitors to the historic Louisville landmark.
"I say it's the entrance to the east of the city of Louisville when you pass by on 71 or 64," said Father David Sanchez, who leads the congregation.
But it's the outside of the century old chapel that threatens its majesty. "Look how beautiful the church is. How terrible it would be to have water coming through?" said Sanchez.
The slate tiles are falling off the steeples that stretch 175 feet into the air. "We were having problems with the slate of the steeples. They were falling and can be very dangerous for the community and we want to preserve the church," said Father Sanchez.
Add in more issues with the roof and the cost to seal both adds up to $2.7 million dollars.
"It's amazing to think they built this church for $50,000 150 years ago and today, just to renovate the steeples and the roof is $2.7 million," he said.
The small parish in the heart of Butchertown is on a mission to save the steeples, which are the tallest twin spires in Louisville.
"There was a competition between Churchill Downs and the architect of St. Joseph's church, but do you know the difference? They are smaller because they wanted to be finished before St. Joseph and they were finished a year earlier. But they are shorter," said Father Sanchez.
It's that kind of history that the pastor hopes to preserve. While the neighborhood is booming with lots of new additions, like a new soccer stadium, Father Sanchez says the historic parts of Butchertown are just as important.
"With the growing of this neighborhood, this parish is the center," he said. "This is our gift to the future generations."
In just six months, the parish has raised $926,000. Every small donation is a step in the right direction and Father Sanchez is hoping every step he takes will earn more money. "I'm going to walk the pilgrimage of Compostela, The Way of Saint James," he said.
He'll make the 1,900 kilometer religious walk from France to Spain this summer, raising money as he goes. Father Sanchez is looking for people to sponsor him -- $100 per every kilometer he walks.
"It will be a big sacrifice for me physically. This is a spiritual growing experience, not just for me, but for the community," he said.
This is just phase one of the planned renovations to St. Joseph. Phase two and three involve the inside of the church and the grounds.
If you're interested in donating to the church's steeple renovation, click here.
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