OSHKOSH - Thousands of people attended Sunday Mass at Saint Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church in Oshkosh.The church marked the religious holiday with the unveiling of part of its ongoing renovation project.As parishioners walked into the church, they noticed something new hanging above the altar."The actual size of the crucifix is 10 foot wide by 17 feet high," said Deacon John Ingala of Saint Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church.The cross represents what Christians believe to be Jesus' death and resurrection."Our central sign and symbol of the Catholic faith," said Father Doug LeCaptain of of Saint Raphael.The cross cost about $15,000. Around 200 parishioners donated the money to help pay for it."That space was always an open space. When it was first built I think there was some thought about what they wanted to put there eventually," Ingala said.A Milwaukee artist designed it. An Oshkosh construction company donated the wood."I think it's just a wonderful new addition to our church," said Beth Schulz:"I loved it. It's a beautiful cross hanging up on the back of the church," said Mary Gilkes.But the church isn't done yet. The cross is just the first part of a $650,000 renovation project."There will be some painting done throughout the church proper here and also we're going to eventually be putting in all new carpeting," Ingala said.Plans also include new lighting and replacing folding chairs with pews."We're ready now to update the space and to enhance the space to make worship better and to focus on our Lord," LeCaptain said.As for the cross, it's been a long time coming... it's taken 20 years to finally fill the empty space above the altar."It is fastened tightly to that wall. It is not coming down anytime soon," LeCaptain said.Saint Raphael church officials say they hope to have all of the renovations done by the end of next year.
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