BRANT BEACH, N.J. — Easter, a time for rebirth and new beginnings, was especially significant this year for Saint Francis of Assisi Church here, when it unveiled a newly-renovated lobby, front porch and handicapped-access ramp.
The $100,000 project was necessary after termites damaged the front lobby, according to Stephen Kluge, OFM, guardian and pastor. “We extended the lobby by five feet and added a four-foot porch and handicap ramp,” he wrote.
More than half of the cost, or $60,000, was donated by parishioner Patrick Moeller, who contributed his time and staff as a contractor. The parish generously raised the other $40,000. The lobby was dedicated to Moeller’s parents, Joseph and Dolores Moeller.
The project was completed in record time, according to parish secretary Marie Huber. Moeller’s team began work as soon as the termite damage was first noticed in January. “It was unbelievable how fast the project moved along,” Huber said.
As it does every year at this time, the parish is planning for a busy summer. After Memorial Day, attendance at Mass jumps nearly fourfold. This increase can be seen in the change in the number of weekly bulletins that is produced.
“During the fall and winter months, we print approximately 1,500 bulletins. That number gradually increases through the spring and inflates to 6,500 in the summer,” said Juli Rosengarth, public relations coordinator for the parish and the St. Francis Community Center. “This is an indication of how many people are at Mass.”
In addition to the Brant Beach church, the parish includes three other churches on Long Beach Island –- St. Thomas Aquinas in Beach Haven, St. Thomas of Villanova in Surf City, and St. Clare in Loveladies.