From the Pastor

Greetings! Because I have gotten numerous emails and questions about the re-roofing project for the church, I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know where we are. As you may know, we announced the roofing work in the bulletin and solicited bids from companies at least eight months before we introduced the project to the parish and started raising funds. Several companies came to bid, but only 10 bids, 7 for the roof and 3 for air-conditioning, were received. We formed two committees, a roofing and a fund raising committee, to study the bids and to raise money. The roofing committee, with the help of personnel from the diocese, selected two bids for the roof and two bids for the air-conditioning. They further reviewed those two bids and selected “C & I Roofing Company” to do the roofing work. The company has been in business for many years and has a good track record on roofing work. We are still in the process of finalizing a contract with the air-conditioning company.

Unfortunately, the roofing company increased its rate by 12% from its original bid, and we haven’t received the revised bid from the air-conditioning company. The air-conditioning company also might increase the amount from its original bid. The companies increased the rate to accommodate some of the specifications that the roofing committee provided. Additional needs came up as we examined the roof more thoroughly. There will be more work than originally anticipated which has raised the cost slightly, but the added specs provided a clear direction and more efficient way of fixing the roof. I want to thank the roofing committee, especially Jim Brown and Ken D’ Cruz, for their in-depth study of the project.

The initial goal of the project was $800,000, which included both the roof and the air-conditioning; the cost of the air-conditioning alone is almost $250,000. We have four 15-ton units and one small unit which are all over 30 years old. In order to reroof the church, the existing A/C units must be removed.  Pursuant to the engineers’ assessments, these units are near the end of their functionality and will probably have to be replaced during the next five years.  If we don’t replace them now, we will have to remove them, clean them up, service them and put them back, which will be a substantial, additional cost. With this in mind, it is ideal to replace the existing A/C units now. The new units will be more energy efficient and will lower the electricity bill in the future.

We plan to start the work in mid-June, as soon as the Academy closes for summer break. If all goes well and there is no damage to the wood on the roof, we intend to complete the project in 45 days, before school reopens. During construction, we will still be able to use the church for all Masses, both daily and Sunday. However, we will not have air-conditioning during that time, so we are looking for ways to keep the church cool, especially during the 4:30 p.m. Mass on Saturdays. An area by the nursery will be cordoned off in which to store construction materials. We will take utmost care  not to inconvenience our parishioners during this time.

The initial goal for this project was $800,000. We have tried various methods of raising the funds, including an appeal in the parish. We wrote 26 proposals to various Foundations requesting grants; a few rejected our request outright, a few are reviewing, but most did not respond at all. We are still waiting to hear from those who haven’t responded. We also approached local businesses and friends, and we have been quite successful in raising some money. We also planned three events to raise money. The Martin Luther Community Choir held a concert in April, which was quite successful, raising about $6,000. The other two planned events are “Casino Night” on Friday, June 15th and a golf tournament on Friday, July 13th. We are doing everything possible to raise money and to keep costs in check to avoid overly burdening our parish families. We were able to save a lot of money by raising the money ourselves rather than engaging a company to do it for us.  As some companies charge from 10% to 12% of the money raised, this saved us a substantial amount of money.  I want to thank our committee members, volunteers, and many others for their help. Because of them we are able to keep the fundraising costs low.

You all have been very generous towards the “Raise the Roof” project. As of now we have a total of $692,980.81 which also includes parish savings of $95,377.52. We currently have a balance of $107,019.19.  We have spent $5255.95 on postage, concert, printing banners and posters. Our initial goal of $800,000 will still cover the work with the increased costs, as long as there is no major damage to the wood underlying the roof. Hopefully, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime job, so I request, if you are able, to make additional sacrifices so that we can reach our goal and complete this work.

On another note, next Saturday, June 2nd, 39 of our children and adults will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation at the 4:30 pm Mass which will be celebrated by Bishop Robert McElroy. This is an important opportunity for our children to understand the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives and begin leading a life in conformity with the Gospel. Let us remember these our confirmands in our prayers.

-Fr. Devdas