On Christmas Eve, just before the evening Mass, the scaffolding on the right side of the Theotokos was dismantled. The repair work of the 340 square meters of roof damaged by a whirlwind had been completed.
Perfect timing, there is nothing else to say. The largest and most visible Christmas gift for the little city came just a few hours before Christmas night Mass. The repair work on the roof of the church dedicated to Maria Theotokos was completed and the scaffolding, which enclosed the right entrance of the sanctuary, was dismantled in time to facilitate more convenient access to the sanctuary. A desired gift, which increased the joy of the inhabitants of Loppiano and enkindled the surprise of the many faithful who came from nearby centers and distant cities for Christmas Mass.
The damaged parts of the roof have been closed, but signs of repair are evident. You can see the new copper strips of a different color than the others. They run vertically on the right side of the roof, descending from the top to the base. This, however, is a reduced area compared to what caused the whirlwind,which hit the roof in the afternoon of that September 26, while the Children’s Mass was being celebrated.
On that day, the bad weather raged throughout most of Italy and, in Loppiano, it caused various damage. The strong wind raged across the roof, damaging 340 square meters, uprooting a good number of copper plates and bending many more. The rain immediately broke into the right sector of the interior of the church and the sacristy.
A small team of skilled workers spent numerous days on the roof, connected by means of harnesses and lanyards to temporary and certified lifelines so as to work in complete safety. Even though rain had prevented the workers from climbing on the roof for many days, this part of the work, as stated in the contract, was concluded by Christmas. Finally, on December 29, anticipating the final completion of the work, the repair of the sheets of the bell tower roof, also damaged by the wind, was also completed, with the consequent removal of the 40-meter-high platform. The plaster and painting operations now remain to be concluded where, due to water infiltration, there are traces of moisture in the sacristy and in the right sector of the building, near the painting of the Theotokos.
The overall work involved the dismantling of 17 rows of strips carried away by the wind or damaged. The missing ones, i.e., about 90 square meters, have been replaced in a painstaking operation. The coated tecu copper strips from which the roof slabs originate have dimensions of three meters by one, but must be cut according to the actual dimensions and the position of each on the roof, so each piece is unique. The damaged panels (about 250 square meters) were again shaped and then repositioned on the roof. The company that carried out the repairs is the same that in 2004 made the roof of the church.
The roof is finally in place, therefore, even if the size of the repair remains visible due to the diversity of color between the copper strips. “The oxidation of the copper of the new panels will be a rapid process,” assures the Technical Office of the little city. “Within a few months the different color intensity will disappear and it will be possible to return to the chromatic uniformity of all the coverage of the Theotokos.”