The following story appeared in the June 10 Idaho Catholic Register.
An architect's rendering of the new Deacon Floyd Turner Narthex at Mary Immaculate Church in St. Maries.
ST. MARIES – Raising money for major expansions to small, rural churches can a bigger challenge than in urban parishes. However, the faithful in tiny St. Maries, Idaho, have raised almost half the $470,000 needed to complete the Deacon Floyd Turner Narthex at Mary Immaculate Church.
Deacon Turner was a beloved deacon who served in the communities of St. Maries, Wallace, Mullan and Kellogg before his untimely death on Feb. 14, 2020 after a fall at his home.
As a previous issue of the Idaho Catholic Register reported, Deacon Turner was the kind of person who made it easier for people to take those needed steps back to the Church. It’s fitting then that a planned new entrance to Mary Immaculate Church will make steps easier and safer. The Deacon Floyd Turner Narthex will make it possible for parishioners to gather after Mass indoors rather than on steps outside that were sometimes slick in the winter. “They’re either too hot if its summer or too cold if it’s winter,” said parishioner Jim Schubert.
The first phase of the project will include reconstruction of new concrete walks, steps and a landing for the 60-year-old church. In addition, a concrete ramp will be built to the east parking lot to provide handicapped access to the church. The second phase will include a 250 square-foot narthex extension off the front entry with new roof canopies to cover the steps and the ramp. To the west of the steps, will be a brick and glass block windbreak, providing protection against the elements while still allowing natural light to illuminate the steps.
Parishioners are hoping that those from through-out the Diocese will donate to honor Deacon Turner. “He was a compassionate man who took his deacon position seriously,” said parishioner Ed Spooner. “He was a big part of our community, including all the churches here, and all the people in this valley.”
“We’re hoping that many of the deacons who live throughout the Diocese would either want to buy a raffle ticket or donate,” Spooner said. “He definitely epitomized what a deacon should be.” Organizers are hoping that many people throughout the state who re-member St. Mary’s Academy will also want to donate. The academy closed in the mid-1960s, but its graduates are spread across the region and the state.
Donations can be sent to St. Mary Immaculate Church, P.O. Box 335, St. Maries, ID, 83861. For more information, contact the parish office at 208-245-2977 or email saintmaries@ gmail.com.
If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.