On the flip side, it gave the sanctuary a dark and cold feeling. One of our goals was to bring in more light, but we also wanted to respect the history of the church. We contacted Rich Murray Granite and Marble Works (located in central Illinois) and Rich was incredibly knowledgeable. He thought that the marble could come down so that it could be re-used (we weren't sure how it was attached to the walls). He advised us that the marble could be fabricated to our specifications. In addition, he could keep the extra marble on consignment and sell it for our parish.
After many discussions, we decided that it would be important to keep some of the marble throughout the church for both aesthetic and historical reasons. Rich carefully cut and milled pieces to our contractors specifications. You will find the black marble has been re-used in several locations: The baptismal font, the Welcome Center, the Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine, and the side and back altars in the sanctuary (the back altar and the steps are the original with the back altar getting a new wood surround). The black steps leading up from the church to the sanctuary are actually black tile that was chosen to coordinate with the Portoro Marble.
The results exceeded our expectations! The marble is especially beautiful close up and works really well as an accent. Many parishioners have ordered pieces and have had tabletops, counters, trivets, and coasters made as keepsakes. We have received some income from the sales and still have more on consignment.
While the Portoro marble wasn't part of the original church (built in 1892), it has been around for almost 60 years. Re-purposing the marble was a great opportunity to honor that and to incorporate it into our new design. We hope you agree!