Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As you may recall, back in the spring we were chosen as a pilot parish to conduct a survey through the Catholic Leadership Institute which would assist us with pastoral planning. The results are in, and we have been examining them to determine what they can reveal to us. The good news is that 95% of you would recommend our parish! It was great to see such a positive response. On the other hand, we were encouraged and challenged by your call for more spiritual opportunities, like small groups and enrichment programs. Hopefully you can see in all of the programming this September our desire to offer more chances for parishioners of all ages and interests to deepen faith and build community. This is something we still hope to expand based on your continued feedback. One other area I must mention, however, is the statistics we received regarding how much we speak about our faith. It was interesting to see that many of you readily admitted that you do not often invite others to Mass or programs, speak to a young person about a vocation, or speak about the faith to others in general. Maybe we can see this as a challenge to take advantage of these new opportunities at our parish and strive to be evangelizers with our neighbors and friends.
That survey was a great starting point, and it gave us a lot of valuable information on how to grow spiritually. I come to you now with a request to assist us once again in planning for the future—but now in the temporal domain. As was discussed last spring, with the departure of the sisters from the convent we have an important opportunity for self- reflection. We must consider—are we utilizing our facilities efficiently, and what must we do to ensure that they are cared for so that they will serve the community well for years to come? We initially spoke of renovating the convent into a parish center and selling the two homes on the property, but our scope since then (much to my dismay!) has been broadened.
Except the partial interior renovation of the Church twenty years ago, our buildings have not been substantially renovated since their initial construction, and we find ourselves with a list of larger projects which are necessary or will be necessary in the near future. The slate roof on the Church is nearing the end of its life span; the school needs major masonry repointing among other things; the rectory is run down in many aspects; and the work on the convent will be quite substantial, if we want to do the job well and completely—and this is only a quick summary. The suggestion there- fore arose, initially among the members of our finance council, that we propose a large-scale plan coupled with a fund- raising campaign.
In terms of first reaction, this is of course the last thing both I, and I am sure many of you, want to hear, but such a large-scale capital plan and fundraising campaign seems to be the most prudent course of action. The parish is some- thing bigger than all of us, and it is something we hope will be strong long after we are gone, so as good stewards we must do our best to care for what we have been given that we may hand it on to future generations. Upon further reflection though, I hope many of you will share with me a sense of sacred purpose and excitement in embarking upon such an adventure. What a statement we can make to the community, in truly recommitting ourselves to our parish and our faith, in saying that we love them both, and are ready to work hard so that generations to come may have the same blessings that we do here at Notre Dame. What a beautiful offering to God and gift for the future in endowing this special place.
I ask you then to please check the information in the bulletin describing the potential plan, and please assist us by taking the survey, either online or by stopping in the rectory office for a hard copy. Again, we are here to serve you, and your input is essential in helping us determine what you would like to see here. With prayer and discernment may we work together in building something beautiful for God.
Yours in Christ,