Wednesday, November 19, 2014


The other day while praying in church it struck me how much stuff there was in our building that came from yard sales and dumpsters.  I have written before about how I have furnished a nine bedroom rectory (they are not still all bedrooms) for next to nothing by a lot of scavaging from the wake of debris of society, but it did not strike me until that moment that I had been doing the same thing in our church.
Some things are very understandable.  After Vatican II when the forward altar was established it needed candles.  Instead of purchasing new ones the parish had the high altar candlesticks refashioned.  This made them match the rest of the church but left the high altar with either no or vastly undersized candlesticks, a problem that was WAY too costly to remedy.  Then came the spat of church closings in the diocese and lo!  High quality marble candlesticks at fire sale prices.  (Isn't it cool the way the stained glass plays off of the black marble?)
We gained many things this way: candle racks, poor boxes, vestments . . .

But we are not only benefiting from the sad demise of other Catholic parishes, but from Protestant Churches shutting their doors.  This wrought iron advent wreath holder was recently purchased for $30.  From that same sale we got hand chimes for the music department, a missal stand for the rectory chapel, and a  great podium already in use in the narthex.
These two thurables and their stand came from the dumpster.  They are original to this parish and when someone threw them away years ago, someone else rescued them and put them in their basement and returned them when they thought they would be appreciated.  We use them from time to time and now they are about the ONLY keep sake we have from the old church.  Everything else is gone.
The processional cross to the far right was a freebee from a yard sale.  I was walking Sebastian and saw that there was a yard sale in progress so we stopped by to say hello.  As we were leaving the kind gentleman said, "Wait Father, I have something in the house you might like."  So he gave me this cross which made for an interesting walk home.
In similar fashion I have received vestments, sacred vessels, relics and other church related items from people who have them in their closets at home because someone was throwing them away (not even sending them to the missions!  Just throwing them away!)  So now among other things we have copious copes, this one below found in a box during the clearing out of a house.
This picture below is on the back of a humeral veil.  When I was a seminarian it was in a box of things that a priest told me to throw in the trash.  We use it on Tuesday nights for benediction.  SNAG!  One man's trash is another man's treasure my Mom used to say.
This one I saved for last.  We were in need of a new organ.  A new organ would have cost us about a million dollars.  A couple of Protestant churches were consolidating and so were selling one of the buildings in which was this fabulous organ.  Now it sings beautifully for the parish every day and it only cost half as much.
And that, my friends, is how to live high on a budget.  Just don't be afraid of the word "used."


Anonymous said...

You are a scavenger . . . a junk collector

Stephen said...

Dear Father Valencheck,

You just validated everything that drives me mad with my 100% Slovenian wife. She lives by the code: "Never buy anything that is not On Sale".

On day, the doctor said to my wife, "Your husband needs a new heart." She said, " When do they go on sale?" AHHHHHH!

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