We want to let everyone know some wonderful news. The parish has leased the school building to the Mary McDowell Center for Learning and it will become the site of their new Upper School. They plan to open the facility in the fall of 2011 after completing renovations to the building.
The lease agreement with the Mary McDowell Center for Learning also includes the rectory. As we reported in the July 18 bulletin insert, every potential lessee that expressed interest in the school also required the rectory to be included as part of the lease agreement. The Sisters graciously agreed to relocate to other convents in Brooklyn, which will enable the parish to convert the convent into our rectory, parish office, and parish meeting space. The parish will hold a Mass of Thanksgiving on October 10 at 10:30 a.m. to honor and thank all the Sisters of St Joseph who have been part of our parish family. We will hold a reception for the Sisters after the Mass and hope everyone will be able to attend both the Mass and the reception to thank the sisters.
The parish continues to see its finances begin to stabilize as a result of the generous stewardship contributions of our parishioners during the 2010 Parish Giving Campaign last October. The Parish Trustees, Finance Committee, and Pastoral Council believe that for St. Charles to continue to grow and become more active, we, as a parish family, must ensure that our Sunday collection contributions are sufficient to cover all parish operating expenses, which are in the range of $300,000 a year. To this end, we plan to make the Parish Giving Campaign an annual event. Our objectives for the annual campaign will be to keep all parishioners fully informed of the operating expenses of the parish, give parishioners an opportunity to prayerfully consider their annual stewardship pledge to St. Charles, and help us achieve the goal of having the weekly Sunday offerings cover the day-to-day operating expenses of the parish.
While the leasing fees that we will receive for the school and rectory will contribute to stabilizing the parish’s finances, they will specifically be used to start a Parish Capital Fund. These Parish Capital Fund monies will be used to undertake the necessary repairs and maintenance that our 141-year old church building requires. We have established a Parish Building Committee. Gary Maranga and Eugene McArdle have agreed to serve on this committee and help the parish develop a long-range Building Repair and Maintenance Master Plan for the Church and the Convent.
An outside structural evaluator will be retained to inspect and evaluate both the church and convent to fully identify, catalogue, and prioritize the necessary repairs and renovations. The findings of the building evaluation will be shared with the parish. The suggested church repairs may include: repair or replacement of the roof, or parts of the roof, and gutters, front door repairs, replacement of the side door on Aitken Place as well as the doors leading from the sacristy into the garden, repair of the stained glass windows and the window casements, re-pointing of the facade, renovating the sacristy, repairing the carport, and consideration of possible future uses for the basement and the apartment above the sacristy. The recommendations for the Convent may include: new windows, new stairs, renovating space on the garden and first floors for a parish office and meeting space, evaluation of handicap accessibility, use of the chapel for religious education, and evaluation of the building facade.
In light of the Diocesan Parish Reconfiguration Process, we must all recognize the ongoing importance of personal stewardship (time, talent, treasure) to St. Charles. The diocese has made it clear that parishes which are financially stable only due to rental or leasing income will not be considered viable in the long term. It is important for each of us to continue, or to increase if possible, our stewardship.
The heart of St. Charles Borromeo parish is our dedicated and outstanding parishioners. Our beautiful church facilitates our ability to come together to worship. It also lends itself to creating a community of togetherness which we hope to continue to facilitate as we move toward a different use of our parish facilities. Our church is a beautiful gift provided for us by generous parishioners in years past. May we do our best to develop and maintain this gift for future generations of parishioners.
Change is often difficult, but the leasing of the school and rectory is not only a positive change, but an absolute necessity for the parish. Leasing the buildings will not only relieve the parish of the significant cost of maintaining the school and rectory, but will provide us with the vitally needed funds to repair and maintain the church and convent well into the future.
We welcome any questions parishioners may have. Please call or email the rectory or speak to one of the Trustees, Parish Pastoral Council members, or Finance Committee members.
Your brothers and sisters in Christ,
Fr. Ed, the Parish Trustees, Pastoral Council, and Finance Committee
The Mary McDowell Center for Learning
The Mary McDowell Center for Learning is an independent Friends school for children with learning disabilities. As its guiding principle, the Center believes that every child with learning disabilities can learn with the support of a community dedicated to specialized teaching, cooperation, and respect. The Center’s approach is grounded in the Quaker values of respect for individuals, personal and social responsibility, peaceful resolution of conflict, the importance of diversity, and the value of service. Challenging and building on the strengths of each child, the Center cherishes the uniqueness of every student. The Center is committed to an educational partnership between faculty and parents. It serves as a resource to provide information about learning disabilities to professionals, parents, and the community. The Mary McDowell Upper School will offer a rich, supportive and challenging college preparatory program for students with learning disabilities who have completed eighth grade at the school or who enter from other specialized and mainstream programs. For additional information on the Mary McDowell Center for Learning please see the school’s website at http://www.marymcdowell.org.