by Michele Collins
St. Barnabas Catholic Church in Northfield will be getting something special for Christmas this year: newly renovated parish offices and a restored rectory space.
According to parish Administrator Rev. Fr. James Kulway, the St. Barnabas staff is ecstatic about the renovation projects going on at the 3,000-family-member parish, and hope to share the renovated spaces with fellow church members before Christmas, if all goes according to plan.
“We are so excited with the new office spaces, which will now be in the former St. Barnabas Villa nursing home on our property,” Kulway said. “They will have conference spaces, more office spaces and enough room for all.”
At the beginning of the year, St. Barnabas staff announced they were informally made aware of the Villa’s decision to cease operations due to “various challenges with no suitable resolutions,” according to the parish’s website.
Through various fundraisers in the St. Barnabas community, parish staff can now move into the much-needed larger space at the front of the former Villa building and organize the space to best serve the church.
The movement of the offices to the nursing home space allowed for the revamp of the church rectory – where the priests live.
Previously, the church office space and the rectory overlapped, making for little privacy.
“The rectory is being redone, with a fresh, clean look,” said Kulway. “It will also provide additional space for another priest, which we hope to get in the future.”
He added that the renovated rectory means the church can also host seminary students, or young men studying to become priests, something Kulway has always wanted to do since coming to the parish in 2020.
He said he did not believe the rectory space had been renovated in several decades, and that a kitchen space is also being updated.
In June, when the office spaces needed to be demolished, a call went out to parish families for help. Kulway said he was overwhelmed by the parish’s outpouring of support.
“We had about 40 people who came in to help with the demolition. I just couldn’t believe the support,” he said. “Everyone pitched in to help.”
Renovation is now underway in both spaces, under the direction of Campbell Construction.
About three months from now, parish members will be invited to an open house to see the Christmas present they helped provide for the staff and entire St. Barnabas church community. ∞
Photo: 40 parishioners volunteered to help demolish
the old office spaces. Photo submitted.