With a vision for renovations and addressing needs for additional space, St. Joan of Arc Parish in Hershey recently completed a project involving its parish center and convent, moving the former convent into a new facility and relocating the parish center to the former convent.
“The parish was in need of additional space, especially for meetings, and so we worked with facilities available to us,” explained Father Al Sceski, pastor.
The original convent, built in 1955, was constructed to accommodate 21 religious sisters; three members of the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy were residing there. So when a house at the end of the parish grounds became available, St. Joan’s opted to convert it into a convent.
With the space in the former convent available, rooms were converted to house the parish center: former bedrooms have been renovated into offices, and common areas fashioned into meeting space. The convent chapel, the St. Lucy Chapel, was also renovated, and now houses a handsome painting, designed by Father Sceski, of the Madonna and Child surrounded by patrons of the parish. The painting was done by Neilson Carlin, the artist who painted the image of the Holy Family for the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
Bishop Ronald Gainer celebrated Mass at St. Joan of Arc Church on Nov. 19, after which he blessed the new parish office and convent.
Father Sceski expressed his gratitude to parishioners for their support of the project, as well as the Council of Catholic Women for their assistance in the chapel renovations, the Knights of Columbus who assisted with preparations, and an anonymous parishioner who donated the cost for the painting.
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness