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FACILITIES UPDATE 

GALLERY STAINED GLASS WINDOW PROJECT

Over the course of the summer, the window project for the gallery will be addressed.  Admittedly, with other projects, both physical and event/activity related, coupled with a slight hitch in the actual size of the windows (just a little taller than we originally anticipated, there has been a delay.  I have spoken to both the dealer through which we are obtaining the Saint Joseph the Provider windows and the contractor for installation, and this project will start to literally take shape and be completed by summer’s end – in plenty of time for our feast day picnic in September. See more HERE.

PARISH OFFICES

We have completed the structural work on the parish offices and will be working on the technological end in the coming weeks.  We have determined that the best date to move back into the renovated offices will be the week after Memorial Day.  That will be Monday, June 3.  Also, beginning that week, we will be using our summer schedule of Monday through Thursday from 8:30am – 4:00pm (closed on Fridays).  Until that time, the offices continue to be located in the FLC. 

Thank you for your understanding.

CHANGES IN THE CHURCH 

Beginning the weekend of June 1/2, we will be re-instituting the distribution of the Precious Blood along with the Body of Christ at all our weekend Masses – the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.  In preparation for this, and for a few other reasons, we will be making a few physical changes to the front portion of the Church.  Beginning next weekend, the small section of pews in front of the Holy Family will be redesigned for those who are physically challenged.  I addressed this many months ago in the bulletin.  This space is closest to the accessible entrance and the accessible restrooms.  The section in the front will be restored with the extra pews we have on hand at this time.  We are in the process of obtaining a final quote for new pews and kneelers for the center sections of the Church.  Additionally, the small section of pews in front of the tabernacle will be removed to make ready for a small Saint Michael Shrine area to be dedicated on the Feast Day in September.  I realize that some people will be less than happy that they have been “displaced” from their seats, but we have more than enough room in the body of the Church for everyone.  Thank you in advance for your understanding.

NEW PRIEST RESIDENCE

If you drive by the future parish residence on the corner of 46 and Sleepy Hollow, you can see that a lot of work is happening.  The major work to this point is the gutting and removal of some existing walls, making ready for the new layout.  I appreciate the concern many have about the living situation for me (at this time) and for future pastors, seminarians, and in-residence clergy.  I will admit, like most projects, this has taken longer than anticipated.  This is no fault for any of the craftsmen working on the house, but simply there are many projects and activities that fight for my attention, and while the cottage is less than ideal, it has been serving its purpose for now.  I more than anyone here, look forward to the day I move across the creek and take up residence in the new house.  I am excited that at that point our parish may be blessed with seminarian interns and perhaps a priest in residence.  This is the main reason why a “rectory” or parish residence is not like a regular house.  The old model of rectories provided common living space, but then separate suites for each person in residence.  While this house will not have that type of suite (sitting rooms connected to each bedroom), we still need the house to be functional for potentially up to three men sharing space.  Over the summer we will see much work accomplished, with a desired occupancy of Thanksgiving.  The finance council and I want to assure you that we are working to be the best stewards of resources here in the parish.  We are making sure that what is built will last the test of time.  Additionally, while the parish funds the structure and the appliances, I will be personally furnishing the interior of the house.  

Background:  When I met with Bishop Bonnar and Monsignor Siffrin, the Vicar General of the Diocese, to officially accept the assignment as Pastor of Saint Michael, the matter of the priest residence has been an issue.  As presented to me at that time, I would have to make plans for an alternative to the current house.  Initially, I planned to renovate the existing house.  After some assessments, it was determined that was not the way forward.  The option of a condo or house somewhere in the area was raised.  There were even discussions about living permanently with another pastor at their parish.  My primary goal has always been to live on the parish campus.  

 

To that extent, plans began to be developed to build a new priest residence on the same location as the former house.  As plans developed, and building costs increased, I continued to become rather hesitant about this prospect – not about living here, but about the final financial investment.  A priest residence is not just another house.  There needs to be space for the possibility of a seminary intern, or even a retired priest in residence.  There also needs to be some proper entertainment space.  The cost of such a structure which would complement the existing buildings on the campus, that while achievable, would redirect money from other needed projects and improvements.

 

However, with no other alternatives, with the support of the bishop, plans continued to be developed for a future priest residence.  The entire time the plans were being developed, I continued to keep my eyes open and reflect on any other possibility, however limited, to achieve the set goal and decrease the final expenditures.  Until a shovel hit the ground on the new foundation, I remained open and optimistic.  The plans were almost completed and ready to move forward, UNTIL… The house on the corner of Rt. 46 and Sleepy Hollow (11 Sleepy Hollow - the blue one with the four garage bays in the back) that backs up onto our property went up for sale at the end of March.  While it needs various improvements and upgrades to be transformed into a priest residence, the savings between a new build and the purchase and remodel of this house is hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 

Even more, this option provides more space than the planned new residence would have, it gives the parish an additional acre of land, running from Sleepy Hollow to the far south parking lot, it also gives those living there a little more privacy and, given the distance, does not need to match the other buildings in the same manner, and - if had to be down the road, could be sold with no challenge to the parish (although I would not see that happening).

 

I presented this idea to Bishop Bonnar and Pat Kelly (the diocesan CFO - who lives in Canfield), and they agreed this is the best option.  To that - Bishop Bonnar signed the purchase agreement on April 25th.  On a side note, that was the 20th anniversary of my first becoming a pastor – when I had to move into an apartment in Ravenna because the rectory had been determined unlivable.  A new build in Ravenna and a complete remodel in Niles and 20 years later – here I am.  More importantly, here WE are.  This is a great day for us all.  This is not a house just for me.  This is a residence for those who will also come after me as future pastors.  This is a residence for future seminarian interns who will benefit from ministering in this faith community as they continue their formation.  This is a residence for possible retired priests who can share their wisdom and faithfulness with us all.  This is a residence that gives permanency for the future of this wonderful parish.  I consider myself blessed to be one of many who will benefit from this dwelling.

 

On Wings, We Rise

– Father Lavelle

See the house HERE

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