Bishop Sullivan blesses renovated sanctuary

Bishop Sullivan blesses renovated sanctuary

Joe McAvaddy, a committee member for the renovation of Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, Atlantic City, presents a plaque honoring Martha Schmidinger, who made the church refurbishments possible, to Bishop Dennis Sulllivan.
Photo by Peter G. Sánchez

ATLANTIC CITY — Celebrating Mass in the newly-renovated sacred space here at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church on July 15, Bishop Dennis Sullivan acknowledged the woman who made the sparkling new floors, new wheelchair-accessible ramp, and new pews, a reality for this shore community.

“Martha Schmidinger’s generosity made it possible” for the project to be completed, he said, adding that “her good deed has accompanied her in death.”

Passing away in 2009, the former office worker and parishioner at Our Lady Star of the Sea left $700,000 to her beloved community, now a part of the Parish of Saint Monica.

The renovations were completed in the church just before Christmas, but is still getting fresh, awed and appreciative looks from summer worshippers returning to the sand, sun and surf.

Diocesan history has accompanied the refurbishment of the church. The new altar is the same one used in the old Holy Spirit Church, while the pews came from the old Saint Martin de Porres Church in Hammonton.

Among those gathered concelebrating Mass were pastor Father Jon Thomas; parochial vicars, Fathers Thanh Pham and Fernando Carmona; and retired priests with Atlantic City roots, Father Patrick Brady and Msgr. Michael Coyne.

Bishop Sullivan noted that Schmidinger’s example “should inspire the faithful” to discern how they can give back to their community.

“Her charity enabled the beauty around us, and beauty is an avenue that leads to God,” he said.

A plaque inscribed with Schmidinger’s name, and her generosity to Our Lady Star of the Sea, now hangs in the church vestibule.

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