From Fr. Paul 12-17-2017

As we approach the end of 2017, many times individuals are looking to make end of the year charitable gifts. These gifts are most welcome here at St. Mary. In the past two years, we have made some great progress on improving our campus and addressing our capital needs. We have updated the church electrical panel, installed a new heating system in our church, nearly completed the installation of air conditioning for our church, and repaired a good portion of the deteriorated concrete and widened the approach from Lafayette Ave. In the school, a new fire alarm system was installed and inspected, and we have an updated playground with an addition for our youngest students. We have also cleaned up some of the landscaping around the church and created a first floor conference room in the parish offices. We should be proud of these improvements. This is our spiritual home. However, there is more work to be done.

As you think about donations, I wanted to offer you some of my thoughts on improvements I would like us to continue to make to our campus. I believe it is important that you know my thoughts on these matters. There is quite a long list below (and more to consider in the future) but every amount helps, and someone out there might be looking to make a major gift. I continue to look at our discretionary funds available before deciding on which projects to undertake, and together with our building committee and parish finance council, strive to make the best decisions on which projects receive the highest priority.

If you wish to make an end of the year contribution, I ask that you make your donations to St. Mary Catholic Church. In the memo line you can specify “Christmas Collection – building improvements”. Your donation is tax deductible. As always, thank you for your generosity.

List of improvements I would like our parish to consider:

Abatement of remaining asbestos ceiling tiles on the campus

An enhanced front entrance for our school to include new front doors and a metal canopy

This improvement would address safety as well as make our school entrance more prominent and inviting.

Replacement of the heating system in the parish offices

Like the church, the heating system in the parish offices and priest living quarters is original (1959). A new system would use the new boilers installed for this purpose.

Cooling for our school

A cooling system would provide an environment more conducive to learning during the hot months of May, June and September.

Church interior restoration

The current wood altar would be moved back to the original marble sanctuary of the church. The current carpeted platform would be removed, exposing the marble steps of the original sanctuary. Pews would be brought forward closer to the marble steps. The marble ambo (lectern) used for proclaiming the readings would be brought out of the cry room, restored and fitted for new wiring, and placed in the sanctuary for use. In a second phase, additional pews would be manufactured to allow for additional seating toward the rear of the church (chairs could be used as needed in this space in the interim).

New Sound System for the church

Assessment of speaker placement in our church and updating so that the congregation can fully participate when they come to worship.

Exterior lighting for the parking lot and throughout the campus

The lighting needs were professionally assessed and a proposal made a few years ago, but funding was not available at the time.

An updated phone system for the church offices and the school

Our current phone system is dated and difficult to repair because of its age.

Continued repair to concrete work around the campus

A marble baptismal font to allow for adult baptisms

A lower pool would be proposed to complement our original and beautiful marble and copper baptismal font so that adult immersion baptisms could be celebrated at Easter. This would be more in keeping with the architecture of the church than the former acrylic pool. The baptismal font would have a new location just inside the entrance to the church.

Again I know this list is lengthy and costly, but we will thank God ahead of time for all the good work He will accomplish at St. Mary Catholic Church and School. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us all for the good of St. Mary parish.

Please prayerfully consider donating an end of the year gift to St. Mary.

Sincerely,

Fr. Paul