by: Scott Priestle, Community Matters Board President
I have vivid memories of childhood visits to St. Michael’s Church. Sitting in a pew during mass, laughing with – and sometimes at – Mike Kezak, a delightfully wacky and profane parishioner from the neighborhood. Gathering with the rest of the community in the bingo hall. Eating homemade tacos made with fresh tortillas by the Comboni Missionaries.
To those memories I can add Todd Lipscomb singing and The Part-Time Gentlemen pickin’ and neighborhood kids dancing and good beer on draft and Buddy Fristoe’s barbeque.
Lower Price Hill again has a gathering space worthy of the good folks who have called the neighborhood home. St. Michael’s Church is renovated and reborn as The Sanctuary, and I am excited for all of the new memories that will be made there.
In recent weeks, The Sanctuary hosted a film festival and a Shakespeare play, and we capped off our grand re-opening of the campus with the Bend in the River Art & Music Festival. A few hundred people – some from Lower Price Hill, some who had never before been to LPH – gathered to listen to local bands in a beautiful setting.
In the coming weeks, The Sanctuary will host choir performances, meetings, community dinners and a fundraising gala. It is available to rent for groups throughout the region, and it is free for residents of Lower Price Hill. Our sincere hope is that it becomes a hub of activity for our neighbors, a place to celebrate birthdays and baptisms and weddings and wakes, the way St. Michael’s – and especially the St. Michael’s bingo hall – did in previous generations.
Every neighborhood needs such a place – where connections can be made and relationships can be strengthened. A place where conversation and camaraderie come naturally. A place where a community of people united by a shared zip code can become a community of people united by shared experiences and friendships. A sanctuary. Our Sanctuary.