Parishioners at Our Lady of Grace Church were forced by weather, woodpeckers and other pests to remove the 25-foot wooden cross that stood at the apex of the Triumph of the Two Hearts shrine on Tuesday.
The Hinckley Township church has been renovating the shrine, which stands on the corner of the church property, 1088 Ridge Road, since 2010, and replaced each wooden beam inside but did not anticipate having to replace the cross.
Workers renovating the roof of the shrine noticed the degradation after they peeled back a protective aluminum casing and found that a family of woodpeckers had made the cross its home.
Employees from Uptown Lumberjacks, a tree service, brought a cherry picker and cut the cross into eight pieces, which are on display in the church’s vestibule.
If the cross were not removed, during inclement weather it might have fallen down and ruined the shrine, said David Wicinski, the church’s business manager.
The church will begin the process of raising money to purchase an anodized aluminum cross, which will cost $5,000 to $10,000.
“Smaller crosses will be cut out of the original cross and blessed to be sold as mementos,” Wicinski said.
The new cross will be designed to prevent any pests from destroying it again. It also will be more visible to passersby on the road who do not yet know about the shrine.
The shrine was designed in the early 1990s and is a place where members of the church and community go to meditate and pray.
Contact reporter Andrew Davis at (330) 721-4050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.