Everything old is new again: church “recycles” windows, altar

Hot on the heels of this posting on a dramatic church renovation comes news about a new church in Pennsylvania which is reusing old elements from other churches:

An $8 million Catholic church being built in Lower Paxton Township has taken recycling to new heights.

The new Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church — Romanesque in design, traditional in decor and sitting on the parish’s nearly 30-acre site along Interstate 81 in Lower Paxton Township — has made “adaptive reuse” its buzzword.

Its 41 stained-glass windows came from a closed Catholic church in Connecticut; the ornate Italian marble altar dating to 1921 once graced the former Immaculata Seminary in Washington, D.C., a girls’ school that closed in the 1970s.

The Stations of the Cross and the tabernacle were purchased through Internet companies that sell used church items.

Even statues of the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph and the body of Christ on the crucifix and several of the chandeliers came from the Holy Name church next door.

“Our vision was to build a traditional Catholic church,” said the Rev. Edward J. Quinlan, parish administrator. “It’s been a complex but fascinating project. Buying these things has given the church a beauty and dignity. This is classic Catholic church architecture.”

Joseph P. McFadden, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, will dedicate the new church at 11 a.m. Sunday. A reception will follow.

The church will replace a 51-year-old facility next door, which the parish has outgrown.

Holy Name has about 9,000 members, mostly from Lower Paxton and West Hanover townships. The old church has seating for 800 people, while the new church can accommodate 1,500 people.

Read more — and see how they’ve used part of an old altar to create a new baptismal font.

And you can see more construction photos here.


  1. Wonderful that they NEED to expand and that they are using these stored treasures. When our church was renovated and greatly expanded the stained glass windows were reused. A company reworked them, adding glass so that some could be featured in larger openings. Just beautiful!

  2. It is pretty, but I am not sure that it looks like a “traditional” church from the outside. Then again, what is the definition of a traditional church?

  3. St. Raymond’s in the Diocese of Arlington did something similiar, using statues, stained glass and even the altar from a closed Catholic church.

    This is part of what good environmental stewardship should be.

  4. Reuse is good to a point. When my parish renovated 16 years ago, they wanted to reuse the founding pastor’s “imported Italian marble altar.” Turns out it was a cinderblock frame to which was glued 1/4 inch marble veneer. The workers were extremely careful, but they couldn’t get the altar frontpiece off without cracking it. The polished sandstone sanctuary steps were thicker and more usable pieces of stone.

    I object to applying the term “renovation” to what amounts to a redecoration. A renovation implies a liturgical upgrade: font, ambry, reconciliation chapel (instead of boxes), not to mention lighting, seats, and the like. The Stroik church still used the same old chairs in the sanctuary and it didn’t look like the pews got an upgrade.


  1. [...] the space.In a word: wow.You can see more here. The architect is Duncan G. Stroik.RELATED: Everything old is new again: church “recycles” windows, altar Posted in Churches46 Responses to “An incredible church renovation” jkm says: December [...]

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