This weekend we celebrate the 30th Sunday in the Ordinary Time of the Year. Today’s gospel serves as an important transition in Mark’s telling of the Good News of Jesus. The healing account of blind Bartimaeus, like other miracles stories in Mark, demonstrates that the Kingdom of God has truly begun in Jesus, since through him God overcomes the evil of every kind of illness and suffering. Immediately after this miracle story, Jesus enters Jerusalem to begin the final act in the drama of the Suffering Servant-Messiah. There he will fully reveal this identity in word and deed as he willingly enters into his Passion and Death.
We recently sent a mailing to all parishioners describing Phase III of our “Honoring Our Roots, Cultivating Our Future” capital campaign. This Phase focuses on the Perpetual Adoration Chapel project and invites all parishioners who have not already joined our campaign to pledge their support for this important project of prayer. This weekend I’d like to offer a brief review of the process that has brought us to this point.
Three years ago (2012), we learned that the LINK – the off-campus building that was home to our Connect Youth Ministries – was sold and that our lease would be honored to June 1, 2014. We began to consider our options and look for a new home for Connect Youth Ministries. We also hired Lorraine Nelson Consulting, Inc. to guide us in our considerations and fund raising efforts. Lorraine conducted a Parish Assessment in January & February 2013. She put together a survey and held several meetings where she listened to what you had to say. She presented the results to our staff in March 2013. We shared the results with the parish at a Town Hall meeting on April 9, 2013. You told us five things. 1) No new leases. Conduct a space analysis of current campus facilities and relocate Connect Youth Ministries in existing parish buildings. 2) Repair the parking lots and provide more parking spaces. 3) Find a space for 24/7 Perpetual Adoration. 4) Move the sacrament of Confirmation at St. Isidore to 8th grade. 5) Bring the priests’ residence back on campus. These messages came through loud and clear.
Here is a brief timeline of what brought us to this point. During April and May, 2013, we conducted a Space Analysis with Serena Sturm Architects and considered different options to relocate Connect Youth Ministries in existing buildings. During the summer we prepared for a capital campaign and received permission from the Diocese to move forward. The “Honoring our Roots, Cultivating Our Future” capital campaign was launched in October 2013. We looked to relocate our Youth Ministries within the Chapel building, find a 24/7 Perpetual Adoration space and address the parking lot issues. At the same time, we began to consider options for moving Confirmation to 8th grade. We intended to build a Priests’ House on campus funded with the proceeds from the sale of the current house when the market improved. During the winter and following spring, 2014, we worked with the architects, Diocese, Village of Bloomingdale and contractors for the renovation of the Chapel building. Anticipating the final approval of the Diocese, we broke ground on the renovation project on April 26, 2014. Construction followed during June through August 2014. We received a significant though restricted bequest from the estate of Vera Stark which allowed us to add an elevator to the Chapel building and a bathroom within the Chapel. The parking lots around the chapel were repaired and resurfaced after construction. The renovated facility was dedicated on September 14, 2014 as our Connect Youth Ministries began the year in their new home, located within existing parish buildings. Phase I was complete. We listened to what you told us.
Over the past summer, repair work was done to the storm drains in our main parking lot and new LED lights were installed around the perimeter of the lot giving us a brighter, safer lot and additional parking spaces. These remaining lots will be resurfaced next summer, completing Phase II. Again, we listened to what you told us. While this was happening, we considered ways to offer the instruction period for Confirmation during 8th Grade with Confirmation in the fall. This option was announced this past July. We listened to what you told us. We also considered many options for Perpetual Adoration and determined that none of our current facilities would be large enough or adequate to accommodate an Adoration space appropriately. Additional options were pursued and Domenella Architects. Ltd. were selected to help us with pre-design work. A site at the northeast corner of our church was selected. It would provide the needed security and parking for a Chapel.
This all brings us to Phase III. When the “Honoring Our Roots, Cultivating Our Future” campaign was announced, a number of people wanted to support the Perpetual Adoration project but were hesitant to commit to the campaign at that time. This new Phase invites all parishioners who have not already joined our campaign to get on board and pledge their support to this important project of prayer. You told us what you wanted and we investigated the possibilities. We cannot take the next steps without your help. The time to act is now. If you have already committed to the campaign, please be faithful in making your pledge payments. If you waited for us to get to this Phase, please complete your commitment card as soon as possible and return it to the parish office. Three years remain in our campaign. While this summary is brief and does not include the many consultations and negotiations that projects like this require, I hope this summary brings us all up-to-date on all that has happened over the past 3 years.
As autumn continues, God’s hand is apparent all around us. Let us take time to notice the beauty. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy