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Stained glass gets renovation work at Immaculate Conception

Immaculate Conception Church of New Richmond

When Father Jim Brinkman looked at the stained glass windows at the Immaculate Conception church in New Richmond, he noticed something was not right.

"There was a three inch gap at the top," Father Brinkman said. "The weight on the whole section was coming down and the window was bowing out on the bottom."

The windows, handblown glass built in the 1960s, were constructed with the outside panel being clear and the stained glass on the interior. However, because the weight of the glass on the more than 14-foot high vertical panels was not supported properly, there was a danger of the glass breaking.

The church decided to have Liturgia Environment of Hayward do the repair work. Nine panels, each valued at $10,000 a piece, were removed from the church.

Father Brinkman said they chose Liturgia Environment based on past experiences and recommendations.

"I've used them before and (they have worked with) other Catholic churches," he said. He told of St. Patrick's church in Hudson hiring them when they had enlarged their sanctuary, and Liturgia designed, built and installed a window showing an angel playing a harp for the new music area.

"The other windows were built during the depression days, and you couldn't tell which window was the new one," Father Brinkman said.

Paulette Ross, general manager at Liturgia Environments, said the Immaculate Conception repair project was not too intense.

"We put crossbars in so the side stops would carry the weight, not the glass itself," Ross explained. "It was just a framing issue, but it takes time to do it."

The entire project took about two weeks to complete. Father Brinkman said removing the first panels took the longest time.

"They didn't have a pattern yet, so the first two windows took about one or two days to remove," Father Brinkman said.

"It wasn't an extensive repair," Ross continued. "These windows should last for a long time; they are very beautiful."

"They made special support bars in each column, you can see them especially at night," Father Brinkman said. "It really makes them look a lot richer."