Stone gable cross saved from falling off Church

After a Divine Mercy holy hour service at St. Mary Parish in Wharton on April 7, some parishioners noticed something that didn’t look right: the stone gable cross atop its historic church was leaning forward.

Immediately, several key St. Mary’s parishioners were apprised of the situation. The area was cordoned off. The parish contacted the Wharton Police and Fire Departments, which used its aerial bucket to get a closer look at the gable cross.

It was discovered that the 400- to 1,000-pound cross was dislodged from its mount and held in place only by a lightning rod cable attached to it. It could have given way at any moment, possibly also ripping off parts of the roof ridge and main wall. Church services were canceled.
Using slings, crane and rigging professionals secured the cross to the lifting hook, clipped the lightning cable, lifted the cross off its stone mount, and lowered it to the lawn in front of the church. The object is safe. St. Mary’s Historic Site Committee is considering the next step in the repair process.

The gable cross is the signature design feature of St. Mary Church, in place since the church was completed 151 years ago. It is a unique design in the English Decorated Gothic style.

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