The Mega Church Project

07-08-2018Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Those who have been able to attend church these past two weekends have been able to observe that the great construction project has begun. On the lower level, the asbestos tile has been legally and properly removed and disposed of in a landfill. This area includes the big hall and also the Olive Branch Room, along with various closets. The air quality has been tested and has been certified safe. Soon this same process will take place in the upstairs church, probably the second or third week in July. This is a very carefully performed process of abatement and all the laws and requirements are strictly observed by the Abatement Contractors.

The Main Contractor, Santini Inc., will help prepare the areas, but the finally sealing of the areas and quality control is under the direction of the Abatement Contractors. We need only cooperate by giving them a very wide berth to do their work properly! Those who came to church last weekend saw that at the back of the church (i.e. the areas near the main doors) that some benches have been removed. The ADA requirement is that we must cut down some benches to widen the side aisle where the elevator and lobby will be and we are also increasing the size of the narthex (aka foyer-lobby-vestibule; we also have to have some areas for mobility impaired throughout the church. Taking the many benches out at one time allows the contractor to get them cut and rebuilt as necessary. On the street side, many of those missing benches will be put back much later in the construction time table. For those which are not returned, we have saved the Memorial Plaques and they will, at the end of it all, be mounted on a special memorial board. The week of June 25th to June 29th the contractors erected barriers at the front door areas of the church. Mr. Santini is trying to do this as neatly as possible so that the one remaining wedding on June 30 will be as nice as possible and when we use the church for weekend masses that area of the church will look as "nice". Our organ also has to be wrapped and sealed so that the dust does not damage the electronics. This will happen the week of July 9th. From then on, we will only be able to use the piano. Wrapping and sealing the organ and its speakers is in excess of five thousand dollars, so that we cannot simply take the "plastic wrap" off for each weekend! We are fortunate that Terry Kerr, our Music Director, is also a gifted pianist so that our Saturday-Sunday Mass music will still be as beautiful and spiritual as when he used both the organ and the piano. The next six or seven months will require a lot of patience and flexibility, but all of it will be well worth it to be able to welcome so many people who miss coming to our and their church or fear that someday soon they will no longer be able to attend. I am most appreciative of those who have contributed and those who have pledged and honored their word. We also welcome those who may want to contribute to do so. As we are all aware, the cost will always be higher than we thought as this is how life is and all renovations are! Our great efforts truly will assist so many of our own people, in addition to guests now and in the future.

Summer: We are all aware of a lesson that most of us know, but do not practice, to take the time in the summer to see family and friends. Our regrets in life are often centered on our failure to put in the personal time with the people of our hearts.