As most of you know, we have been planning on using about half or a little more of our $1 million savings on building a new church hall to provide more space for meals and parish gatherings and for the religious education classes and parish groups to meet.
Our initial budget for the project was about $600,000. And, after interviewing several architects, we settled on one of them last September and thought that we would move forward soon. However, he and the Diocesan Office of Planning, Construction and Facilities then made a proposal that was vastly above our budget.
The Pastoral Council and Finance Council responded creatively with a number of cost saving ideas; and we started looking into local builders. We have consulted some construction companies and considered some other options that would bring the cost back into our budget range.
One of the possibilities is adding onto the current church annex, instead of building a new structure. Either that plan or a new building would provide space for a hall that is about twice the size of the current church annex, expand the kitchen, and make about four rooms available for religious education classes and other meetings.
I will get back to the parishioners soon about the plans on going forward, and I certainly welcome any ideas that people have. While we are working out plans for the future, I would ask everyone to join me in making a 30 day Novena of prayers to ask for the intercession of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of builders, for this project. The novena will start on March 19, the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, and the novena prayer is described on the flyer in the bulletin.
A novena is a devotion that involves offering a particular prayer each day for a certain number of days. The tradition of praying novenas goes back at least to the early Middle Ages and has received official Church approval many times. The most common novenas involve praying a certain prayer for nine days; and in fact the tern “novena” is derived from the Latin word “novem,” for “nine.” However, some novenas have been extended to longer periods of time, including novenas for 30 or 40 days. The faithful commonly pray novenas for a deceased person, in preparation for a feast day (such as the Immaculate Conception or Pentecost), to emphasize a devotion (such as Divine Mercy or devotion to Mary) or for a particular intention, such as the success of our building project. Novenas unite the prayers of many people and many days, joining the power of heaven to our prayers and efforts so that we may together build up the Church to reflect the love of God on earth