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Restoration of Saint John’s Site

2025 Restoration


In January 2025 Our Lady Queen of Angels Parish in Central City will embark upon a special project to restore our historic St. John Church. Just as this venerable sacred space is constructed of brick, stone, marble, and wood, so too we, the Church, built of living stones, are given the opportunity and honor to help participate in renewing something that truly matters.

The people who built St. John’s over one hundred years ago did so because they truly believed in something. The architecture and art they loved and sacrificed so much to hand on to us stands up and proclaims boldly what they wanted to say. Most immigrants who journeyed here came from villages where life was full of nature and grace; a life where mountains, valleys, stars, trees, and creation weren’t empty spaces, but were filled with Divine presence, transcendence, wonder, and awe. Just as it had been for centuries, their daily life was punctuated by encounters with God in the sacraments, in prayer, in the feasts and fasts of the Church, in liturgies that endowed the human experiences of birth, love, joy, sorrow, and even death with eternal significance. While they would leave the places their families called home for ages, the one enduring reality that provided stability in the new world was their faith. With the skill of old-world artisans, they built St. John’s as a place of sanity and stability in a hard new reality; a refuge to meditate on life, to encounter the living God in the Mass, in the sacraments, and in ethnic devotions that unite heaven and earth amidst a rich forest of symbols. Praying at St. John’s Church and encountering its beauty were among some of the most stirring and beautiful experiences of a poor immigrant’s days. Life was never so real as it was before the votive stand in the candlelit faces of the people who prayed at St. John’s over the last century; you could read every tragedy, every miraculous event, and every glimmer of hope in their eyes. Those who built this church knew that no matter what challenges affected their homes, their work, or their families, when they entered St. John’s and looked up at the altar of God, they would find their destiny.

As the protective intimacy and rhythm of life found in the immigrant homes began to fade, so too did traditions, culture, and even a serious spiritual outlook on life. Because Central City and our region have been so violated in the course of recent decades (by economic downturns, an exodus of people, and a loss of faith), centuries of history, ethnic traditions, and the warmth our ancestors experienced daily have faded. Like a land without water, a life without wonder can leave us feeling dehumanized, empty, and our souls profoundly impoverished. Countless ethnic churches have been shuttered and some have even ended up in landfills. Somehow, St. John’s Church has not only survived, but survives with a very important mission.


The restoration of St. John’s matters because in our age we need something real to lift our spirits. Catholic worship is something that engages soul and body as well. Art not only engages our senses but helps to inform our ethical character. St. John’s offers a powerful proposal for the future; perhaps true modernity includes a return and reappreciation of sanctified tradition.


Because this will be a substantial undertaking, significant funds will be required to help accomplish this restoration. The project will include the following…


– Repainting the entire interior of the church. This includes enhancing the color scheme and restoring stenciling that was once part of the original aesthetic of the church. Stencils will capture themes of creation from local nature, ethnic folk patterns, and venerable religious art.

– Repainting the chandeliers and decorative lighting.

– Refurbishing of the altars with attention to gold highlights and re-marbleizing certain spaces.

– Restoration and detailing of ordinary and ornamental plaster.

– A large mural in the vestibule depicting the lived experiences of faith in both the old world and Central City. A unique and significant work of religious art, this entrance into the nave of the church will be in keeping with the medieval church portals that were enriched with images of heaven and earth, signifying not only an entrance into sacred space, but entrance into the Christian community and the Communion of Saints, ordinary people transformed by sharing Divine life.

– Installing a stair lift to provide greater accessibility.

– Basic refreshing of the restroom facilities.


Please prayerfully consider offering a gift in the spirit of the devout souls who gave us St. John’s as a valuable part of our spiritual and material patrimony. Doing so will not only keep alive the spirt of the people who built and maintained this church, but will continue the mission of the Church to help provide a place of comfort, beauty, truth, and faith. Thank you and may God bless you for your sacrificial gift and for helping a mission that truly matters, restoring all things in Christ.

If you wish to support the restoration of St. John’s with a donation, please make your check payable to “Our Lady Queen of Angels Parish.” Please write in the memo portion of your check “St. John’s Restoration Campaign,” and mail to Our Lady Queen of Angels Parish, 738 Sunshine Avenue, Central City PA 15926.

For those wish to donate by using PayPal or Venmo please use the links found below.

All contributions are tax deductible. Thank you for your sacrificial gift and generous spirit.

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