Transfiguration renovations are about reviving church, faith community

By Elizabeth Lowe
elowe@CatholicReview.org
The church renovations at Transfiguration Catholic Community are about more than eliminating leaks and mold and refreshing the sanctuary with new paint and refurbished pews.
It is about reviving the faith community and welcoming new members.
“We hope that with the new evangelization, with a lot of light in the church, the parish will look forward to a brighter future,” said Father Augustine E. Inwang, pastor of Transfiguration and a member of the Missionaries of St. Paul of Nigeria. “My hope is that I can tell the people to be hopeful.”
To view a slideshow of the transition, navigate the arrows below.  
To mark the church reopening and the parish’s 10th anniversary, Archbishop William E. Lori and Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden will celebrate a Mass of blessing May 4.
“I can’t wait to see the parishioners walk in and say, ‘Wow,’ ” Father Inwang said.
The Southwest Baltimore faith community has worshipped in the lower hall since October when renovations began. Father Inwang expects the work to be completed by mid-April. 
The renovations cost about $750,000 and included new carpet, lighting and a mural of the Transfiguration above the altar. Additional work included new gutters, doors, a marble baptismal font and repaired bells.
Father Inwang hopes the 329 registered parishioners will feel pride in their refreshed spiritual home and invite others to liturgies.
“I hope and pray the church will lead us to form that personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” he said. “I believe the Lord will provide.”
Transfiguration was formed after St. Jerome, St. Martin of Tours and St. Peter the Apostle merged in 2004. The sale of St. Peter in 2012 financed the work, Father Inwang said. Transfiguration’s worship space is the former St. Jerome church building.
“That (mural) is a statement that after 10 years of working together, this is Transfiguration Catholic Community,” Father Inwang said. “A merger is not done in one day.”
Nancy McCormick, a member of the parish’s rededication committee, credits Father Inwang’s leadership with strengthening the faith community.
“If it wasn’t for Father Augustine, we wouldn’t be where we are, we wouldn’t have the church we have,” she said. “He has worked so hard.”
McCormick is anxiously awaiting the May 4 liturgy.
“We saw the drawings of what it would look like, we all liked what we saw,” she said. “Going into the church and seeing what those people did, it’s like walking into a cathedral. There are no words to describe – you have to see it.”
Jermaine Towns, another rededication committee member, said the renovated church gives the parish hope.
“There is a future for us,” Towns said. “It signifies that we are on a journey and as the (writing above the) mural says, ‘It is good for us to be here.’ It’s a reminder that we are Transfiguration.”
If you go:
The Mass is at 10 a.m. May 4 at Transfiguration Catholic Community, 775 W. Hamburg St., Baltimore.
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