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Church Construction Recycles Stones

At St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church in Pottstown, the parish is taking a long view of recycling … a centuries-long view.

Stones from a church rectory will be recycled again.

Stones from a church rectory will be recycled.

The parish, affectionately known to its congregation as “St. Al’s,” traditionally includes Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township and Sanatoga in its service area. It’s begun building a new parishioners’ center on the north side of the church, at the corner of Hanover and Beech Streets, Pottstown, that features ample gathering space and access for the disabled. But as St Al’s former rectory was being razed last month to make way for the new construction, it yielded a surprise.

Contractors determined the rectory, built during the early 1900s, was erected by masons using stones that remained from the church’s original construction in 1891. Their 117-year-old act of recycling will be repeated, St. Al’s pastor, the Rev. Walter J. Benn, announced Sunday (Oct. 5, 2008) during the 7 a.m. Mass.

Benn noted the stones had been carefully placed on pallets at the construction sites and covered with plastic sheeting for protection. They will be used once again, later in 2009, to build a shrine grotto at the rear of the new building. “It’s exciting,” he said of the discovery.

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