Forty Martyrs Catholic Church undergoes renovation

By Kayleigh Rahn
Life happens in a church, and Tuscola’s beautiful Forty Martyrs Catholic Church on Van Allen Street is no different.

The stone structure has been a part of the city’s landscape since 1925, and those familiar with its interior will be happy to view the church’s summer renovation. The floor-to-ceiling overhaul included new paint, flooring rehabilitation, new pews, and improved lighting without altering the structure, explained Father Angel Sierra.

“Everything basically is the same in terms of the integrity of the church,” Sierra said. “We didn’t change anything in terms of the actual structure.”

Sierra came to Tuscola in July 2015 when the church celebrated its 150th anniversary as a parish.

“Usually when you have an anniversary you want to do something very special, and for the 125th they created a book detailing the church’s history.”

The church was established in 1865 and the first church was built in 1880, according to the anniversary book. It was a wooden white church and 45 years later the members raised the funds to construct the current building. It was dedicated in 1925.

“The congregation increased in members, and so they decided to construct a bigger church and that’s what happened in 1925,” he said.

The parish has completed renovations of the church twice in the building’s history, most recently in 1978.

“I was approached by some members of the church about refurbishing the church again for the 150th, because nothing had been done since 1978,” he said. “Usually a church is refurbished every 30 or 40 years as the paint begins to fade and the routine wear and tear.”

The church’s interior has been painted at least twice since 1925, and was once covered with wallpaper. And at one point the wooden ceiling beams were covered with a dropped ceiling tile for heating efficiency.

The full story can be found in the Sept. 13, 2017, edition of The Tuscola Journal.