From Our Pastor – Nov. 19, 2017 Bulletin Message
St. Alphonsus Facilities & Capital Campaign Update
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We are so blessed to have such devoted and caring members of our Finance Council. I cannot thank them enough, especially Chairperson Joe Dominijanni, who leads the way and is primarily responsible for compiling the thorough and accurate financial report that is inserted in this week’s bulletin. (Click here for a PDF of the report.) Also thanks to Mary King, our parish bookkeeper, who works closely with Joe and Finance Council members to ensure accuracy and responsibility on behalf of the parish.
Our campus is looking spiffy, to say the least! Many thanks go to Tania Conti and our gardening club for keeping our grounds looking quite nice. I have received many compliments over the past few months, and most of the credit goes to them…thank you!
As I mentioned in the bulletin a few weeks ago, an appropriate phrase for today is “things change,” and we must respond fluidly and prudently to change in our lives. I am so very grateful to those of you who pledged and have already fulfilled, or are continuing to fulfill, your capital Campaign for the Church Alive! pledges for your understanding and patience since my arrival in February 2015.
Many of you already know that the original “case statement” developed as part of the Campaign for the Church Alive! outlined that the money raised would be used for 1) church air conditioning 2) bathrooms on the east/old side of the church and 3) construction of a meeting room on the east/old side of the church.
Shortly after I arrived here — after much prayer, observation, and consultation with Finance Council — we determined that the money from this campaign would be far wiser spent on campus “needs” rather than campus “niceties”. We informed you of this and proceeded to use the capital campaign funds for: repair and refurbishment of the west/new side skylight; a new roof on the west/new side; new retaining walls around the church and rectory; parking lot re-paving; repair, refurbishment, and upgrade to the tower bells; and repair of some of the church’s stained glass windows.
I am confident that we have responsibly used this money for what needed to be addressed the most, and we are continuing to pursue this kind of prayerful and prudent decision-making.
In doing our best to honor the original case statement projects (at least the air conditioning), we have had a few contractors give us ideas and proposals regarding the feasibility and cost of installing an air-conditioning system in the church building. One of the estimates, offered by SSM Industries, a very reputable local company, came to almost $600,000, with many unknowns and challenges regarding installing an efficient and cost-effective system. Other contractors were hesitant to even give us ideas and bids, given the type of heating system the church currently has (2 boilers), and the space restrictions around the building for the air-conditioning units to be placed.
I regularly walk the campus with my head up in observation of buildings and grounds condition, and very early in 2015 noticed the deterioration of the east/old side front entrance façade. When the contractors were repairing the west/new side skylight (and had a crane on campus), we asked them to take a look at the east/old side as well. These photographs were taken at that time. You can see the extensive work that absolutely needs to be done. There are rust and gaping holes at the base of the tower and at the corners of the front façade, which are allowing water to enter the building and cause damage. You can see the interior damage for yourself in the bell tower vestibule and on the balcony wall and ceiling. There is also a need for extensive brick work on the chimneys.
The entire cost of repairs in these areas is $270,000. I have asked the contractors (Raimondo, Inc., and Bryn Enterprises – who both worked on the skylight project) if they could quote us in piecemeal work, but taking that route does not make much sense. Once the scaffolding is in place, it is most cost-effective to do all of the work at the same time.
Given the above, and with the blessing of Finance Council, I would like to submit a request for this project to the diocese for approval, and use $135,000 of the capital campaign money to pay for this work. We will use money from our checking/savings accounts for the other $135,000 to complete the project. The amount of capital campaign cash in hand, and still due to be received, are included in the financial report.
As aforementioned in prior campus/property and plant updates to you, when Father Peter Murphy announced the “case statement” projects for the capital campaign in 2013-2014, he could not have envisioned the On Mission for the Church Alive! changes that will become a realization in the fall of 2018, beginning with fewer Masses offered at the vast majority of our churches. Looking at the “big picture” of the realities we are dealing with, the original “case statement” projects do not appear to be, in the foreseeable future, prudent endeavors.
We need to first preserve the structural integrity of our church building, which is being compromised. It will only get worse (and more expensive) if we do not address it soon. There is also brick work that needs to be done on the school building, especially around the windows on the older sections of the building. We will look into these projects in 2018, and decisions will be made regarding the amount of money that the parish will pay and the amount that the school will pay for them.
I ask — and the Finance Council asks — that you continue to remain open and fluid to the reality that “things change”, specifically, in this case, when referring to our use of the capital campaign funds. If you do not agree with these decisions, and offered your pledges specifically for the original “case statement” projects, you can contact Mary King in our parish office. She can arrange for the amount of money that you pledged/fulfilled to be returned to you. I hope, however, that you recognize that the Finance Council members and I do not take these decisions lightly, and that they are made prayerfully and with much consideration for the greater good, and the greater glory of God. We are doing our very best to serve you and build the Kingdom of God on earth, in preparation for entrance into the Kingdom in Heaven!
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Kevin C. Fazio