Chapel Restoration

Introduction from the Pastor

The Chapel of Saint Vincent de Paul has stood over one hundred and eight years as a symbol of hope and faith to many people who have entered and exited its doors. The building has seen many liturgical changes since it was first constructed and now stands as part of Saint Joseph Parish in the Archdiocese of New York.

It benefactor, the great businessman Myles Tierney, built it to the glory of God and it is our sacred duty to maintain and restore what he created. His story is much like so many who come to this country. He started off as a man who dug basements in Jersey City, New Jersey but ended up as one of the most well-respected business men of the previous century. It was noted in his biography that Myles Tierney did not find fancy in the many honors he received but the construction of this chapel we see here today was his greatest achievement. On the dedication plate still visible today, we see it dedicated to all the orphaned children of the Archdiocese of New York. His love for helping those in need is also evident in his funding various vocational schools in the Rockland County, New York, some still teaching the youth of today.

The architectural design of the chapel is that of the simple gothic revival. The outside walls of the building are created from various size rocks from the area and the façade is that of cedar shakes and decorative wood elements, common to the period of construction. The interior of the building has lath and plaster walls and tongue and groove oak ceiling with solid oak support trusses. Until recently, the parish discovered a picture from the 1930’s showing the original layout of the building showing a simple wooden altar and a framed painting of Saint Vincent de Paul. Sadly, today these items no longer exist what little information we have comes from antique postcards and old black and white photos.

Ever standing the test of time, the chapel is now needed of important structural and cosmetic restoration. The start of this undertaking began with the removal of a wooden extension on the sanctuary wall. What was soon realized that it was used to cover up several cracks in the wall. It was discovered the wall was in danger of failure as the original wooden studs suffered from years of decay as they were resting on the original foundation earthen and rubble foundations. It was also brought to light that only a narrow cement slab supported the congregational seating area. These immediate concerns were addressed by the parish as part of the restoration process. This included the pouring of new cement support columns in both the altar and seating areas. The new floors were engineered with rebar support and now will support the new flooring so designed in the altar and congregational areas. The walls were reconditioned removing cracks and await a new coat of paint.   

We at the parish have laid out several important projects that will ensure that the chapel will be there for the next one hundred years. Of great importance is the historic restoration of the twenty-five stained glass windows, the exterior façade and the new seating.  These projects are outlined below for your consideration. We are confident that our restoration process with your generous assistance will help the Chapel of Saint Vincent de Paul, once again be a shining beacon of light and hope in the community and in our society.

Project I: Chapel Seating

The chapel was designed for seating of 150-200 in traditional pews. The original pews were divided into three sections from left to right with two narrow middle isles. The original pews were are long gone, but it is suspected that were of pine construction. The previous set of pews that were removed were used and their lengths cut in half.  When they were removed early in December they were found to be unstable and weak in various parts. These pose to be a severe safety issue especially for children with their parents at Mass. The amount of money to repair and refinish the pews, providing new supports would not be cost effective.

The chapel is used for various liturgical functions throughout the year and it was decided that traditional pews would not be conducive to space. After careful research 200 solid wood (oak) chapel chairs would be fabricated by the Ratigan-Schottler Church Furniture Company. This company is one of the premier church manufacturers in the United States. The chairs (see picture 1 below) are of simple design and crafted from only solid hardwoods which ensure lasting structural quality. A high-quality stain resistant fabric that is durable and will stand the test of time with the chair.    

The price of each chair is $200 per chair which includes the kneeler and the ganging.


Project II: Chapel Air Conditioner System

Mitsubishi Electric Air Conditioners:  In the summer of 2015 a massive brownout in the area caused the antiquated air conditioning units to finally fail. It was the same month that the chapel was to be designated for daily Mass for the summer months. Unfortunately, this was not a possibility as the temperatures were in the upper nineties and reached several times over one hundred degrees.  It is our hope that this year, we can use the chapel for daily Mass and for weddings again. Working with ABCO Refrigeration Supply Company of Suffern, New York, we have selected a new wall mounted units to cool the chapel. We chose Mitsubishi for the following reason: quality, as is the preferred brand by HVAC contractors, performance, keeping costs down and being energy efficient is of great importance to the parish, and support of the products from training to servicing. It is important to note that as part of the restoration of the chapel insulation was provided in the sacristy and main areas of the building to help with the energy efficiency.  

The total price for this project is $19,000