Dear friends in Christ:
Work is continuing on our project. Obviously, we had hoped to have been completed long before now. However, in construction, there is always something. The biggest issue we have been facing lately has been the manufacturing of doors and skylight glass. The architects give the specifications, the General Contractors meet with the engineers, sub-contractors and manufacturers. Then gremlins came in the middle of the night and do whatever gremlins do to cause delays and delays and more delays. Oh well. If everything always worked according to schedule, we could never learn patience and understanding!
Please be assured that everyone is working to move the project along to a completion as fast as they can without sacrificing quality or safety. In a few years, no one will remember how long the project took to complete but everyone will always see how beautiful everything is. In about a month, the organ is scheduled to be shipped. Once it arrives, installation will commence and the last pieces of the interior will be completed. Please mark your calendars for Saturday, March 25 the Feast of the Annunciation. At 10:00 a.m., Cardinal DiNardo will be here for the solemn dedication of the new altar and to bless the renovations.
‘Why are we doing this?’ People still ask, ‘wasn’t the church good enough before?’ Good questions. Just to refresh, we are doing this in thanksgiving to God for his blessings to our parish for 50 wonderful years. We are Continuing the Vision of the building project of the “new church” nearly two decades ago. But more importantly, we are Continuing the Vision of our parish community. That vision is stated in Acts 2: “They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and prayer.” (Acts 2:42). Stated even more simply, it is ultimately that we give God our Best and Greatest (Deo Optimo et Maximo – D.O.M.) in everything.
By working and sacrificing, it is not just the buildings that have changed. We have changed! We have hopefully grown more in love, devotion, sacrifice, patience, hope, understanding, faith, generosity and thankfulness through this project.
It has been more than learning to deal with a little dust or movable altars and pews and temporary sound systems. Hopefully as a parish community, we have grown closer to one another and to the Lord. Through our sacrifices in this project, we have also shared our blessings with others. Did you realize that we have given in thanksgiving, over a million dollars to the archdiocese from our regular collections to help poor parishes and the inner-city Catholic Schools? Did you know that the pews from the chapel (old church) have been donated to the Chapel at St. Dominic’s Center and Resurrection Parish? Some of the other furnishings now grace St. Philip of Jesus Church. These gifts from our parish have made a huge impact to these communities. Others have been blessed to receive and we have been blessed to give.
As we move closer to the completion of construction, we need to remember than in reality we are never really finished. Look at St. Peter’s in Rome or any church, renovations are always in progress. Making things new again is part of being the church. There will always be new opportunities to make things better or more beautiful. But as we all know, it is not just the buildings that need to be renewed and renovated. It is our hearts, our lives and our relationships. Thanks be to God, He always gives us opportunities for us to grow more in our faith, our love and in our generosity. The moment we think we are done is the moment that we stop being the Church and that is when we are really in trouble! Revelation 21 (look it up!).
In Pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately