Opening a Door When one Closes

New Parish Opens in Tanzania with St Casimir's furnishings & St Thecla's Altar from the Daughters of St Paul

By Vicki-Ann Downing The Enterprise BROCKTON — MA
On Easter Sunday morning in a small African village in Tanzania, a new Roman Catholic church will be dedicated. Among the crowd of more than 1,000 villagers will be some familiar faces: A Stoughton woman and an Easton man. The church’s furnishings are familiar, too: They came to Africa from the former St. Casimir Church in Brockton. Christine Lott of Stoughton, a 46-year-old investment banker and mother of three, raised $60,000 in the past year through her nonprofit foundation, Christine Cares Inc., to allow villagers to finish the new parish, St. Judas Thaddeus. Jack Hurley, the 58-year-old owner of Custom Stained Glass in Easton and a Randolph native, designed, built and installed the stained glass window that graces the 13,500-square-foot church and community center in Ilboru, a village in Loruvani, Arusha. Lott and Hurley left Massachusetts this month to fly to Tanzania by way of Amsterdam. In the days leading up to Easter, they have toiled from sunrise to sunset with other workers to finish the church, which was a cement building without doors or windows when they arrived. “We’re going to work,” said Lott. “Jack is going to put in his window. We have to hang doors. We’ll move in the pews and the altar and lay the tile. We’re going to finish it and put our labor of love into it, side by side with the locals.” Hurley called it “the chance of a lifetime.” On Oct. 4, Lott shipped a 40-foot container to Tanzania at a cost of $8,500. It arrived at its destination on Feb. 3, its contents blessedly intact. Inside, in addition to contributions from the Daughters of St. Paul in Jamaica Plain and Hurley’s 6-by-5-foot cross, were the furnishings and fixtures of St. Casimir, the Brockton parish that the Archdiocese of Boston closed last June. Lott had planned to ship the container earlier, filled with items from Our Lady of Mercy in Belmont. But when the sale of that building fell through, the shipment was delayed. Working with the Rev. Louis Palmeri of St. Michael Church in Avon, Lott received permission to use the contents of St. Casimir instead. “We brought the container to St. Casimir’s and loaded it there in September,” said Lott. “We unbolted the pews. We had a crew of 25 people who loaded the container up with everything that fit, 47 pews, altars, the tabernacle, pulpits, altar cloths, everything.” Lott’s has been a journey of faith as well as miles.

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