Catholic Strong funds help strengthen a majestic church

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Almost 115 years ago, the construction of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Church was completed, and ever since Sept. 17, 1905, faithful of all backgrounds have delighted in the beauty of this downtown Atlantic City cornerstone.

Donations the Parish of Saint Monica in Atlantic City has raised through the Catholic Strong campaign are being used for restoration projects at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Church. Pictured above are one of the church’s two transepts which were restored in the fall of 2019. Photo by Alan M. Dumoff

Thanks to the generosity of the Parish of Saint Monica community during the Catholic Strong campaign, Saint Nicholas Church will be standing strong for years to come.

The first phase of the church’s restoration project was completed last fall, as both transepts — 30% of the church interior — were restored with the help of Brooklyn-based EverGreene Architectural Arts.

Along with the apse, nave and narthex, the transepts make up the cruciform shape of the historic building — seen from above, the church resembles a cross.

“Besides the sanctuary itself, the transepts have the most eyes on them during Mass and even when you walk into the church for the first time,” noted Father Jon Thomas, pastor of the Parish of Saint Monica. “They contain examples of all the architectural and artistic features in the church.”

As well, the “walls were replastered and repainted, marble was polished, artwork was professionally cleaned, and other architectural features were regilded,” he added.

Throughout the Diocese of Camden, parishes are receiving 70% of the money raised for the diocesan-wide Catholic Strong campaign for their own projects and ministries, to strengthen their church. Thirty percent of the funds raised go toward the diocese’s coordination and support of various ministries.

Father Thomas noted that further phases of the Saint Nicholas’ restoration project will include the sanctuary, nave and side aisles. Because of Catholic Strong, there is excitement in the air in Atlantic City.

“Everyone has commented positively on the work,” Father Thomas said. “They are now more excited than ever to see the project continue.”