7/19/2017 11:15:00 AM WATCH: Ascending and descending at Ascension Parish New elevator brings access for people with disabilities
Ed Langlois/Catholic Sentinel Fr. David Jaspers, pastor of Ascension Parish, sprinkles holy water on a new elevator that improves access to the church hall. “Whatever contributes to bring us closer together is in accordance with God’s plan,” the priest said.
Church life has its ups and downs. It turns out that’s a good thing at Ascension Parish in Southeast Portland.
Parishioners gathered after Mass July 9 to bless a new elevator that will carry parishioners between the church and the basement social hall. As Father David Jaspers put it, with a play on the parish name, the community will ascend and descend.
Previously, access to the hall came only via long sets of stairs. That left out parishioners with disabilities and some elders.
“Christ the Son of God came into the world to gather those who are scattered, so whatever contributes to bring us closer together is in accordance with God’s plan,” Father Jaspers said during the blessing.
He explained that the parish hall is a place where community is built and where people give personal witness to their faith. New access means more people will be able to deepen their life in the parish, he added.
Father Hans Mueller, freshly ordained and on staff for the summer, read a passage from the Gospel of John in which Jesus describes the promise of angels ascending and descending.
Father Jaspers, after he sprinkled the elevator with holy water, invited a parishioner with a wheelchair and her family to climb aboard with him. The door closed silently and they made the smooth trip to coffee and doughnuts.
Staff member Linda Royal and volunteer Glenn Schnaidt led the project, which was funded in part by two large donations. One came from Pat LeMarte, the other from an anonymous benefactor.
The parish is still raising money to finish this elevator project if you would like to contribute, donations can be made at the parish office.