The physique of St. John the Baptist’s brick, Romanesque-style church was constructed with a full basement in 1907 to interchange the small picket chapel constructed there in 1884, a yr earlier than the founding of the parish. The 2 buildings stood side-by-side for a few years, however that authentic chapel is now gone. A two-story, 4 room college home was inbuilt 1912 and a priest’s residence was inbuilt 1916; each stay to this present day. In 1927, the church’s present sanctuary house (the place our altar and tabernacle sit) was added on, together with two new vestry rooms to the left and proper of the sanctuary. Electrical energy first got here to St. John’s in 1930 (and the church can be rewired in 1962).
The subsequent main renovation came about in 1942. Here’s a newspaper account, apparently from the next yr, entitled St. John the Baptist Church Completes Renovation: “Pioneers and buddies significantly involved in Cooks Valley who haven’t visited St. John the Baptist Church throughout the previous yr shall be agreeably stunned to see the whole renovation that has taken place inside its sacred precincts. Final spring, by means of the efforts of Reverend J.B. Eberhardy and beneficiant contributors, lovely stained glass home windows changed the abnormal ones. Late final fall, the decorator’s brush beneath the vigilant eye of the current pastor, Reverend Francis Knopp reworked the dreary partitions into a beautiful abode for the Grasp. The dominant coloration scheme is buff with delicate stencil decorations in shades of brown, yellow, and Mary’s blue, whereas touches of silver and gold emphasize the designs of creative workmanship. Probably the most enticing options is the ‘WAY of the CROSS.’ These Stations, in bas aid, have been made ‘to order’ and harmonize in coloration and measurement with their environment. Christmas Eve discovered the gorgeous Nativity group donated by the college kids in a brand new Bethlehem setting. Because of the volunteer choices of the parishioners, all is financially settled. If simplicity is an artwork, then previous St. Johns within the Valley is artistically lovely in simplicity.”
In 1967, following the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the church inside was redone once more. Right here is an account from that point: “The parishioners and the Pastor of St. John the Baptist Church have each motive to be happy with their little church which was not too long ago reworked and redecorated. This renovating work of the Church’s inside was executed by the parishioners themselves. About 60 males from the parish washed and painted the Church. Beforehand seven completely different colours, and plenty of gold leaf symbols have been used, however now solely two colours; the ceiling, the sanctuary and the rear partitions are white, whereas the aspect partitions are painted a recent spring inexperienced. The whole church flooring, the sanctuary, and the vestry are carpeted with an excellent rug. To reinforce the distinction between the intense partitions and the pink carpeting, the pews and the kneelers are stained walnut and coated with a sturdy plastic end. The brand new altar and lectern have been designed by Father A.Ok. [Andrew] Karoblis and have been constructed by Mr. John Sykora Jr.. The large President’s chair, the tabernacle desk, and the 2 aspect statue cabinets are Mr. Sykora’s work additionally, however the lovely oak stain end was executed by his spouse, Mrs. Annabelle Sykora. Mrs. Alice Stoffel mounted and repainted the Stations of the Cross, in order that they mix in with the partitions. Mr. Clifford Loew constructed the uncooked iron candelabra and flower vases. The carpentry work, the decreasing of the vestry ceiling greater than three toes, was the duty of Mr. Francis Goulet, Mr. Bernard Stoffel, and Mr. Richard Sykora. There are different improvements to help individuals and the priest in larger participation within the sacred liturgy: the set up of a brand new public handle system with microphones on the lectern and altar, the organ introduced down from the choir loft to the physique of the church, the sanctuary was shortened by 4 toes, whereby the rear pew was introduced as much as the entrance of the church. The concerted effort of the Individuals of God of St. Johns Parish has been handiest within the liturgical aggiornamento [modernization] of their parish church.” The church’s entrance foyer was added in 1976 and in 2001 an extended, indoor ramp can be constructed from that entrance house all the way down to the church basement.
The church’s most up-to-date redecoration venture earlier than our current one was in 1993. A St. John’s Parish historical past guide from 1995, marking the parish’s a hundred and tenth anniversary, has an entry entitled Church has Recent Look: “Ash Wednesday, February 24, [1993,] was much more particular than regular for worshipers at St. John’s Catholic Church in Cooks Valley. After attending Mass within the church basement since January 3, they have been grateful to be again within the upstairs worship space, which had been newly repainted and carpeted to present it the previous nation look. Father William Felix, parish priest, gave a particular service of blessing earlier than Ash Wednesday mass.
This renovation had been within the planning phases for a number of months. LeGesse House Enchancment did the portray. Tom Schindler, church member, spent many hours trimming the church to return the woodwork to the way in which it was in years previous. Volunteers labored with the LeGesse crew stripping the woodwork to be painted. Altar furnishings was additionally stripped and stained to match the remainder of the trim. The carpeting was completed by Wolf Electrical and Flooring simply earlier than Ash Wednesday. This venture was one of many duties the individuals of the church have undertaken to assist put together for the 110-year celebration of the church, scheduled in 1995.”
Although not described in that account, present St. John parishioners will recall our church inside’s easy white partitions, mild blue carpet, and powder blue dome over the sanctuary, which have been all aged and in want of refreshment. Our 2021 beautification venture is predicted to be prepared for Lots starting Palm Sunday weekend (March 27-28). Might the nice fantastic thing about this church glorify and draw souls to God by means of Jesus Christ for a lot of many years to come back.