QUINCY -- This year's annual St. Rose of Lima Parish St. Patrick's Day dinner comes with a goal -- raising money to restore the parish's 100-year-old pipe organ.
All community members are invited to attend the dinner, which will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at the parish hall, 715 Chestnut. The 16-rank, 914-pipe organ was first played at St. Rose in 1912.
"Without an organ, you can't do much," said the Rev. Robert Fromageot, St. Rose of Lima assistant pastor. "This organ means we can have glorious music in our church."
The organ is the 56th ever made by the Highland, Ill.-based Wicks Organ Co.
"It's a pretty historic instrument," Fromageot said. "It's one of the few that uses a new technology back then which wasn't welcomed by future organists. It's called tubular pneumatic."
The tubular pneumatic process refers to the use of lead tubes that connect the organ's console to its valves and allow for the flow of air through the instrument.
"The organ is a glorified voice box, essentially," Fromageot said. "You have the blower, which represents the lungs. You have ranks of pipe for the different pitches. Because it's an extension of the voice, it is very suitable for sacred worship."
Fromageot estimates all restoration work on the organ will cost $120,000. He said he is confident the goal will be met.
"After 100 years, it is showing its age. It has seen better days," Fromageot said. "Quincy is keen on preserving its cultural, historical artifacts. This is a historic building, so in a way, it is for all of Quincy."
The church has received a Lenten dispensation for the dinner.
The exemption will allow the Catholic parish to serve meat at its fundraiser, falling on a Friday during Lent.
"I wouldn't say (dispensations) are that common, not for a Friday in Lent," Fromageot said. "You have to have what's called a ‘just cause' to get a dispensation."
The dispensation was requested by the church's pastor, the Rev. Arnaud Devillers, and approved by Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Springfield Diocese. The dispensation is applied only to St. Rose and not the entire diocese.
"Some of the faithful -- who don't belong to St. Rose, but would like to come here and normally do for the dinner -- are a little hesitant because they can't eat meat," Fromageot said. "It's only if you come here, for this specific occasion, that you can. You can eat the Butcher's Block's homemade corned beef or German sausage without all the guilt."