The dust is starting to settle with the Christmas Season complete (we are in ordinary time this weekend), and the routine of 2017 is beginning to take shape. Therefore, I want to apprise you of some things that have occurred and are occurring in our three cluster parishes. I did a parish walk-through at all three parishes when I arrived. A list was made of every loose screw, crack, and area that needed repair. What progress have we made?
At St. Moses we are LEAK FREE! Last year brought us a flooded lower level, steam that buckled the carpet in the church, and a compromised roof that was getting dangerously close to damaging the historic art works in the ceiling. This year we will see nice new and more durable carpet tiles in the hall (all covered by insurance)! The insurance company who addressed the flood went beyond their scope as a favor. They stretched and corrected the rippled carpet in the church for free (they are to re-glue it soon). But, most importantly, a huge giant THANKS to Schena Roofing. The owners are some of my best friends who came out last fall and stabilized the roof. Schena Roofing did this all at no charge! Yep, you read that right. The Schena family is amazingly generous. Not only did they not send us a bill that would have set the parish back $8500, they adopted a family in our parish for Christmas, and also donated $1000 worth of gift cards for our needy parishioners. Please say a prayer for the Schena Family and send business their way. Their generosity allows us to get closer to getting our finances in order and addressing other repairs on our parish grounds.
At the Cathedral one of the difficulties on our campus is the Cathedral Community Center, aka the gym. Since I arrived, I have been trying to address this sad-looking structure. I was hoping to clean it up and use it for critically needed meeting space. I wanted to make it something of which we could be proud. A friend, David Wentworth, the energy manager at University of Michigan, did an energy audit – at no charge to us – to address long term issues and save us money. We made some strides and I was getting seriously close to having others pay for some renovations as well. The contracts were drawn to have Gleaners come in and redo half of the lower level, on their dime. They were to make it into a resource for the community (adding ramps, new bathrooms, floors, ceilings, etc.). In the second phase, they were to fix up the other half of the lower level. The roof though was an issue; our K of C meeting room kept flooding and made it unusable. So again I called in Schena Roofing. My buddy said, “I know you want to save this structure, but it is dangerous and should not be used.” He was not kidding. Several other companies have since inspected it. Not only is the structure unsound, but it would cost upwards of $900,000 simply to stabilize it. Those numbers do not include addressing broken windows, repairing damaged floors and walls, tearing out 40 year old carpet, HVAC, etc. Although we were getting $900 a month in rent from a community church, obviously we could not have them remain. Gleaners can’t move in either. We are working with the Archdiocese to address a new plan. I will keep you informed.
Finally, if you walk into any structure at Our Lady of the Rosary, you realize that there are some maintenance challenges that have been deferred for years. I wanted to begin to fix things, but I like to get feedback from the Parish Council and Finance Council. But, you may not be aware that we had to get these councils organized. We have had two meetings so far. The “walk thru” list is being prioritized and we are moving forward. Other good news: underneath that bleached, stained carpet in the chapel is terrazzo flooring. Terrazzo is a composite material, made of chips of marble, quartz, granite and glass. In other words, quality flooring!! Hopefully this will soon be shining as bright as our parish!