Come, Grow With Us!
Dear Friends in Christ,
As I announced at the Masses last weekend, our parish has purchased the property of the former Carmelo’s (Maize) Restaurant. The two parcels of land include the former restaurant building which will be re-modeled for our use as The Caritas Center. This 8,000 square foot building will become the new home for our Social Services Ministries and Joseph’s Coat. This will double the space that we currently have for these ministries and gives us much needed space for expansion. In addition to Jospeh’s Coat, the Caritas Center will house offices for Social Services, The Gabriel Project, Emergency Assistance, Catholic Charities Family Counseling, and more. There will also be much needed meeting space for the parish ministries and programs.
Our parish continues to grow and so do our space needs. The building near the Activity Center which until now has housed Social Services Ministries and Joseph’s Coat will become Nazareth Hall, the new home for our Youth Ministry. Youth Formation will remain in the “B Building” but the Youth Ministry for our Middle School and High School students will relocate to the back. This will add an additional 4,000 sf of space, providing gathering and meeting space, classrooms and offices for our Youth Ministry with close proximity to the Youth Lounge (The Den), basketball court and Activity Center. While this is not new construction, it is great help.
Our parish attempted to purchase this property twice before beginning in the 1990’s. We were unsuccessful both times. When Maize closed at the beginning of 2023, we again explored the possibility of acquiring the property. With the good counsel of our Pastoral and Finance Councils, we began the long and arduous process of negotiating a deal. With the support of Cardinal DiNardo and Bishop Dell’Oro and the assistance of the chancery staff (Ken Sykes, Aad DeLange and Christina Deajon) and members of our staff (Henry Sustaita, Belinda LeBouef and Jennifer Rider), we were finally successful. Without the wonderful guidance from some parishioners along the way (Preston Young, Iggy Grillo, Paul Bettencourt, and Steve Pierce), we could not have succeeded.
There is much work left to do to get the buildings in shape for our use and I am sure some of you have some questions. We will do our best to provide the parishioners with the necessary information. Here are a few F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions).
In Pace Christi,
FAQ about our new property:
A. We paid $4.5 million for 1.5 acres. This includes both corner lots on Memorial Drive and Nottingham Oaks Trail and the 8,000 square-foot building on the southeast corner lot.
A. We took out a $5 Million loan from the Archdiocese to be paid back over 5 years.
A. It is 1.5 acres. This includes both corner lots on Memorial Drive and Nottingham Oaks Trail.
A. After Hurricane Harvey, the City of Houston changed the building codes. We will need to provide water detention for any changes to any of our buildings. This land will be used for our future detention needs and allow us to keep the ball fields in the front of the church campus. The parking lot will be removed and will be landscaped to become a beautiful green space giving our church campus a presence on Memorial Drive.
A. Not originally. It was both or nothing. When the owner decided that they would consider selling the pieces separately, the price went up. Buying both parcels was a better deal.
A. Yes. There was a convenience store interested in the southwest corner lot next to the church’s property.
A. Upon the recommendation of the Pastoral and Finance Councils, it was decided not to have a special capital campaign. Instead, all the parishioners are going to be asked to increase their regular weekly offertory. A $20 weekly increase from all our parishioners would put us in great shape to achieve this goal of providing for the future needs of our parish, helping us to better serve the poor and needy and the youth of our parish.
A. Is that a trick question? Absolutely! We need special gifts of all sizes and amounts.
A. No. The archdiocese has restructured the Cathedraticum taxes and there is no longer a special Building Fund Tax. All income to parishes is now taxed at a flat rate. This rate is lower than the previous Cathedraticum rate but there are also fewer exemptions.
A. Yes, but priority will be given to Social Services and Youth Ministry.
A. That depends. As with any construction or remodeling project, we are subject to labor challenges, supplies and materials being available and of course, city inspections. Our hope is to be ready for the Fall of 2024.
A. Yes and No. Jack Duran of LLD/Blueline is the architectural firm. Jack was previously with Turner Duran, who has worked on numerous projects for St. John Vianney parish. At this time, we are still in the process of selecting a contractor.