If St. Mark Parish in Buffalo feels more inviting these days, you're not imagining things.
The parish recently completed a capital improvement project that provides universal accessibility with a new entrance ramp and restroom inside the church. The project cost about $75,000 and was funded through a campaign within the parish community.
"It was a labor of love that we started about a year and a half ago," said pastor Father Joseph Rogliano. "It was long overdue. So many people couldn't come to the church because of it."
Father Rogliano was especially pleased with how the new entrance ramp looks, along with the surrounding landscaping. He noted the response to the capital campaign was very generous.
"We tried to do as much as we could without being intrusive," he said. "(The campaign) wasn't dragged out because so many people wanted it. It's so gratifying to see people who have not been in church for years."
The new improvements allow those people who move with canes, walkers, wheelchairs or other devices to enter St. Mark's more easily.
While many people term such improvements as "handicap accessible," those who work to promote disability awareness are using the term "universal accessibility" to give the meaning a more friendly connotation.
There was no formal dedication ceremony for the new ramp and restroom at St. Mark Parish, but Father Rogliano said he did bless the new features of the church.