An Update On Our Work | From the Desk of the Pastor | June 2024

Dear Parishioners,

It is hard to believe that we are already into the summer months. As we move into this new season, I wish to provide you with an update on our current preservation efforts along the front façade.

Where to begin…? Many of you have asked how long with the scaffolding be up? We originally reported between 12 and 14 weeks, but unfortunately, our contractor, All Trades Historical Restoration, has found additional damage which will now extend that time by about three to four weeks. The timetable now to finish phase one would be the end of August, provided there are no additional repairs needed. The additional work will add about $65,000 to the original estimate of $200,000. A reminder that phase one of this preservation project covers the top two-thirds of the front façade, along with a few other items. Here is a summary of what is being done:

Cross | An engineer is making a plan for a new base for the cross which usually adorns the top of the façade. The cross itself wasn’t damaged but the base had corroded due to the age of the building. The original cross will be repositioned on the new base.

Flashing | When examining the cross, our contractor noticed the roof’s flashing was loose, likely a cause of some of the water damage to the inside of the church. They will be resealing flashing to fix the leaks.

Rose Window | This is where most of the new damage was found. After inspecting the window, our contractor discovered more than 67 fractures of various sizes on the rose window. Each of these will need to be sealed and painted to match. The fractures are simply due to age and the sun beating down on the building.

Sacred Heart of Jesus | I am not sure many of you will have noticed this, but the fingers on the one hand of Jesus are missing. They fell off years ago, though we were able to recover them. Our contractor will be reattaching them to the statue.

Doors | The three remaining sets of doors yet to be restored will be part of this initial phase. It is plain to see the damage due to the sun hitting on them day after day. Our contractor will remove the doors to work on them.

Similarly to the northernmost entryway, the other entryways will be sealed up with plywood during that time. Work will alternate to ensure two entryways will remain available for parishioners and visitors to use. With the handicap doorway along Twiggs Street, a temporary door will be placed to ensure the continued use of the handicap ramp.

Keep in mind that this work does not include what will need to be done to address the water damage on the inside of the church, but it does help stop causes of that damage.

Staff and volunteers are applying for grants from the county and state to provide some additional money for the next phases of work on the outside of the building. The next phase would cost between $200,000 and $300,000 depending on how much we can afford to do at that time.

Regarding the North Campus… staff and committee members have been meeting with the diocese, architects and a kitchen designer to best determine what will need to be done for the kitchen at the North Campus. As we continue assessments, the building’s plumbing is becoming a major issue. The drain pipes in the kitchen have collapsed due to age. All new plumbing will have to be installed, and would include the bathrooms in the auditorium as well. Our team is looking at what we actually would need and will use for the parish regarding the kitchen design. Once we settle on a final design, we will be able to get more of an idea on what the cost would be to renovate the kitchen.

A development committee is being assembled to aid the parish in fundraising, seeking applicable grants, and creating a new parochial legacy program. All money raised through these vehicles will aid the church and the North Campus. Our church turns 120 years old next January. The majority of the North Campus is more than 50 years old. If we ignore any problems we find today, it will cost the parish much more in the future. Luckily, we have many dedicated parishioners who want to help. If you have experience in raising money and would like to help, please reach out.

Peace and All Good,

– Fr. Mike