Parishioner-made sanctuary furnishing is blessed at St. Patrick Church, Ransom

Father Anthony Ego sprinkles holy water on the new ambo at St. Patrick Church in Ransom before proclaiming the Gospel at Mass May 6. The ambo, altar base and side altar for the Holy Family were made by Dave Slusarski, a parishioner and master craftsman. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

RANSOM — Easter joy continues to find expression at St. Patrick Church where a beautiful, hand-crafted ambo was blessed by Father Tony Ego, pastor, before he proclaimed the Gospel at Mass on May 6.

“We pray that in this church we may listen to the voice of your Son, so that, responding to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we may not be hearers only but doers of your word,” Father Ego prayed, with arms outstretched over the lectern, before sprinkling it with holy water.

The ambo was designed and built by parishioner Dave Slusarski, who owns Dave’s Woodworking in Ransom. He donated his time, the materials and the installation for the ambo, as well as a matching base for the altar and a side altar for the Holy Family.

The furnishings were made from oak and stained a warm brown. The most prominent feature is the cross in the center of each piece.

Dave Slusarski poses with Father Tony Ego and Deacon Ron Wackerlin on Easter Sunday in front of the sanctuary furnishings he made for St. Patrick Church, Ransom. (Provided photo)

The project grew out of a casual conversation around the first of the year, when Father Ego asked trustee Jerry Yedinak if it would be possible to replace the little podium they had.

“I said, ‘Wait a minute. We have the best woodworker in the United States, that I know of — Dave Slusarski,’” Yedinak recalled. “I talked to Dave and he said, ‘I’m not just making a podium. I’m going to make an altar. I’m going to make it all.’”

He didn’t waste any time.

Slusarski’s goal was to have the new sanctuary furnishings in place by Easter and they were.

“It was phenomenally quick,” Father Ego said, calling the matching ambo, altar base and side altar a “100 percent improvement.”

“It enhances the sanctuary. They all came in on Easter Sunday and there were a lot of oohs and aahs and very happy, smiling faces,” he said.

NO STONE LEFT UNTURNED

“I was looking for a pulpit that had some shelves. The previous one didn’t have any shelves — it was just a stand,” Father Ego explained. “What Dave came up with was way beyond my imagination.”

Not only are there two permanent shelves in the ambo, which is 24 by 36 by 60 inches, but Slusarski added a stowable step so children can proclaim the Scriptures and prayers of the faithful at Mass. The top is illuminated by a new lamp.

The altar base is 24 by 78 by 38 inches. There was no need to consecrate the altar again since the top remains the same, Father Ego said.

The side altar, dedicated to the Holy Family, is 24 by 60 by 38 inches.

The previous furnishings did not match, he said, but they made an effort to find out if any of the 56 families in the parish had donated them in an effort to be sensitive to memorials.

Father Ego described Slusarski as a quiet, unassuming person who didn’t want any recognition for what he had done. That doesn’t mean parishioners won’t be grateful for years to come.

“His magnanimous donation will be there for life,” Father Ego said. “It was a very generous effort of time and material. He was meticulous. He left no stone unturned in making it exactly what it needed to be.”

“It’s a beautiful example for the community and for our parishioners of such generosity and caring and love for this parish,” parish trustee Cleonne Wright said.

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