November 8, 2016
My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As we enter into a beautiful time of year with Thanksgiving just around the corner and Advent not far behind, I am reminded to be thankful for all that I have been given, patient for what is to come and to place abiding trust in God’s Divine Providence. I invite you to embrace these qualities along with me as we work together to address the needs of our parish.
By now you should have received our 2015-2016 Stewardship Report that presents a challenging year ahead with projected expenses exceeding expected income. I want to assure you expenses are being carefully managed with our Finance Council and Building and Grounds Committee providing diligent oversight. The recent repair and renovation projects we have completed or will be undertaking are to be financed outside of our normal operating income through our Maintenance Reserves. It is our hope to replenish those funds through your continued generosity.
We owe much to our past parishioners whose vision, leadership and generosity built the facilities that make it possible for us to worship, to serve and to be an active faith community today. The responsibility of maintaining the facilities now falls upon us. As you know, the wear and tear on our aging buildings is increasingly evident. Earlier this year we found ourselves facing almost $900,000 in must do and much needed repairs. I know it seems every time we turn around there is another must “fix” repair, but please know all needs have gone before our Steering Committee, Building and Grounds Committee and Finance Council. The following have been identified as critical and necessary to the functioning of the parish:
- Repaving the crumbling and unsafe parking lot ($142,000 Projected)
- Re-caulking and sealing the clear and stained glass windows to make them waterproof again ($100,107 Actual)
- Replacing the 48 year old HVAC system in the Church that has long exceeded its life expectancy ($341,000 Projected)
- Replacing the 30 year old leaking and beyond repair Church roof
- Reconstructing the entry into the Church to address safety and accessibility issues ($200,000 Projected)
Within the groups, there was a unanimous expression of urgency to address these maintenance items and a feeling it was “time to tend to our home”. With committee and council oversite, we agreed the most urgent items, those that ensure the safety of our parish community or impact the use of our facilities, should be given immediate attention. Under the thoughtful leadership and guidance of the Building and Grounds Committee and the Finance Council we developed a timeline for improvements and a corresponding budget. We agreed to fund the repairs initially from our Maintenance Reserve Account which is held at the Archdiocese and to replenish the funds used so that emergency needs in the future can be met in a timely manner. Gratefully, our plans were reviewed and approved by the Archdiocese.
I then had to address how we might go about raising the money for repayment. I initially reached out to some members of the parish and to our various committees asking for their support. I was amazed and humbled by their generosity. Over the last few months, additional parishioners have stepped forward when they learned of our needs and plans. Their response has been equally humbling. We have raised over $300,000 with another $200,000 in yet to be fulfilled pledges. We have a strong foundation upon which to build, but we still have a long way to go. I now must turn to the entire Parish Community and ask for your support so that we can continue and finish our much needed deferred maintenance repairs.
Bridge to the Future Campaign
With needing to fund almost $900,000 in repairs, I am reaching out through what we now call our Bridge to the Future Campaign - Phase I. Enclosed with this letter is a pledge envelope. At all Masses the weekend of November 19-20, we will formally ask for your support. I sincerely hope you will make a gift or pledge to our Phase I Bridge to the Future Campaign. Whatever amount is appropriate to your financial situation will be greatly appreciated and I thank you in advance.
Recently, I have been asked by some parishioners about the Parish Hall. As I reported in the bulletin some months ago, we had a beautiful and functional design but when we assigned costs, we realized the parish was not currently in a position to construct a new building. After having been placed on hold so that we can address our more pressing repair needs, the Parish Hall project is now more properly thought of as Our Bridge to the Future - Phase II.
Asking for money is never easy and I would not be writing to you if the Phase I repairs were not absolutely necessary to our parish life. I consider it truly an honor to serve as your Pastor and thank our Heavenly Father for having blessed me with such a wonderful faith family. I thank you as well for your prayerful consideration and hope you will join our campaign and help “tend to our home”. Yours in Christ,