St. Jude Church, West side church entrance:
From time to time, since our church remodel, I hear through others that some are asking why we don’t replace the handicap access provisions at the church’s West door. The answer is quite simple; it would be prohibitively expensive to put in a ramp (of concrete) that would meet today’s code, and, with the AC units now near that entrance, there really is no room to put still another handicap access to the church. We currently have two easy-access ways for those in wheel chairs or with walkers to enter church. The new drive-up (under cover from the rain) is right next to the wheel chair ramp, and immediately near a door that is handicap access (push button to open). This was a huge improvement over what used to be at the West door before the remodel. There is a second option for people—all flat walkway, on the south side of the building, with parking spaces reserved as near the south doors as we could possibly put them. John Henry just repainted the signage on the black top so it is clear these are reserved for those (most in need) of that short walk to the doors. In either case (East or South entrances) there is also the easy access to the elevator that can take one to either lower level or church level. This addition, VERY much needed and VERY much used by so many now that we have it, was an expensive addition to the remodel project.
To think that we could either afford or even have a need for still a third handicap access is a bit of a leap in thought. One may like that West side entrance so they could sit up front, but the reason (the architect) suggested the rear entrances to the church for handicap had to do with where we could put an elevator that would be MOST useful (West side would not have worked) and how near a bathroom—often needed for older people during an hour Mass or other church event.
To sit up front would be nice, but if in a wheel chair (which we even provide) one can be taken to the front easily. Also, if seated in the back, and unable to make the movement forward for Communion, if one simply lets an usher know before Mass of the need, an Extraordinary Minister will bring Holy Communion back to the individual seated in back of church. I trust this will answer this question for any asking about it (though no one has mentioned it to me directly).
- Fr. John