NEW ORLEANS – The long-awaited restoration project for St. Stephen church in Uptown will begin in less than a week.

After starting their $6.2 million capital campaign in May of 2016, St. Stephen raised 85 percent of its goal thanks to donations from parishioners and community members according to the Archdiocese.

"Many thought we would be unable to attain such a lofty fundraising goal,” said Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty, pastor. “But trusting in the Lord is our business here. We trusted, and He has provided, thanks to the generosity of His people."

Archbishop Gregory Aymond will preside over the groundbreaking ceremony on June 7.

"Past generations provided this beautiful church for us, and it has served our community for 130 years,” Nalty said. “It is up to us to halt the deterioration which threatens it so that it can be used for Sacred Worship for another 130 years.”

St. Stephen was built in 1868 and is the last of the historic Archdiocesan churches to undergo restoration, according to the arch diocese. The church’s German Gothic architecture was completed in 1887 and is noted for its iconic spire, historically significant organ and stained glass windows.

St. Stephen’s fundraising campaign began with a seed gift of $500,000 to springboard its launch. That same anonymous donor will give an additional $500,000 as a challenge grant, matching donations dollar for dollar up to that amount to help St. Stephen’s reach its goal.

“While neither a New Orleans native nor a member of Good Shepherd Parish, for reasons of faith and otherwise, St. Stephen’s Church has become for me a place of hope and sanctuary,” the anonymous donor said. “I will be pleased to see this beautiful house of God restored to its proper state and hope that donors throughout the community will be moved to help us finish the fundraising needed to honor this important sacred place and treasured landmark.”

Donahue-Favret has been selected as contractor and noted preservation specialist Peter Trapolin of Trapolin-Peer Architects will be the architect.