PLEASANT PRAIRIE — Using a cherry picker, workers installed a new cross atop the spire of St. Anne Catholic Church, Pleasant Prairie, Wednesday, Sept. 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.
The cross is one of the final phases of the church construction project. According to the pastor, Fr. Robert Weighner, the project has been a labor of love.
“We had our winter social last January and had a last call for donations to create the cross,” he said. “We recently finished the gathering space and had included the cross in the project.”
The cross was designed and created by Jeff Hojnacki of Ascend Design in Muskego. Hojnacki also designed and created the cross at St. Catherine Hospital, Kenosha, and remodeled the interior of Whistling Straits in Kohler for the PGA Championship.
“He is a really well known designer,” said Fr. Weighner. “He was highly recommended. Originally, he thought he might want to remove the spire, but when we told him how much it weighed, he didn’t want to mess around, so we worked with what we had.”
In addition to mounting the cross on top of the spire, much work needed to be completed, e.g., adding electricity, matching the cross to the spire and designing it to fit. To balance the two, the cross had to be tubular and fit with the spire’s dimensions.
“Jeff had a lot of great ideas,” said Fr. Weighner. “He came up with the idea of placing an acrylic tube inside the cross and cut a series of slots in the cross to let the light out. He also designed the 900-light LED structure to go inside, and designed a mounting bracket that goes over the area where he cut the four tips of the spire off.”
Harnessed to the 135-foot lift, Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki rode 90 feet up to bless the 12-foot cross that is now illuminated in the evenings.
“This cross is a sign of hope for all of us,” said Fr. Weighner. “It was by the grace of God that this all came together and we are so grateful for the many donors that made this possible. We at St. Anne’s are very happy that we have a cross on our church now.”