Down East church fixing mold problem

Posted Dec. 14, 2008, at 7:12 p.m.

PLEASANT POINT, Maine — Parishioners of St. Ann’s Catholic Church again are attending Mass there now that the mold problem has been resolved.

The mold problem in the nearly 80-year-old church has existed for some time, but the Rev. Frank Morin said a Brunswick company recently tested the church and found that the problem was not as bad as first thought.

In September, Morin met with a handful of parishioners to decide the fate of the little church on the Passamaquoddy Reservation. The church was built in 1928.

At the time, Morin shared a letter he had received from Environmental Management Inc. of Brunswick that outlined the problem. The field technician for the company visited the church in July. Air samples were taken and lab analysis revealed a possible fungal growth problem.

EMI is the same firm, the priest said, that tested the attached convent three years ago and recommended that building be closed. The convent shares a common wall with the church, and the smell of mold has been seeping through the heating vent.

“They wanted us to condemn [the convent] section of the building not only because it was already in very bad shape … regarding mold, but everything else. We are not using that section at all and it is being sealed off,” Morin said.

In addition to the mold problem in the convent, water has seeped through the roof and plaster is hanging from the walls.

A local company is installing an electronic humidity control system in the church that will help relieve the mold problem. “We had a donation and it is all paid for,” Morin said.

Now it is time for parishioners to roll up their sleeves to fix some of the other problems, according to Morin. He said a good cleaning with bleach and a cleanup of the cellar would help.

Now that Mass has resumed, Morin said, the parishioners are relieved. The church is part of the eastern Washington County cluster of churches that has only one priest. St. Ann’s is to remain open during the winter months.

At present, Mass is being held at the church at 5:30 p.m. Saturdays.

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