In last weekend’s bulletin, you noticed that this week, we will begin our parish-wide viewing and discussion of “The Search”, a seven-video series through FORMED. I would like to re-extend an open invitation to everyone in our parish to join me virtually this Wednesday, Jan. 6, at 7:00 p.m. as we watch the first video of the series. Every Wednesday, we will watch and discuss the next successive video of the series. This series is very well done and is easy to understand and follow. It touches on topics that are foundation stones for evangelization. For someone who is fallen away or wandering from the faith, it provides answers to some of their deepest questions. For someone who is already committed to the faith, it provides material for explaining the faith to a secularized world.
On a different note, I would like to make everyone aware of a capital maintenance project that we will be doing in phases. As many may be aware, the rectory basement has required much attention over the years as there has been a moisture problem which has been deteriorating the bricks of the interior basement walls and the interior of some of the foundation walls. The first phase of solving this problem will be to seal the exterior of the foundation in order to prevent any more moisture from soaking through the wall. This entails first excavating down to the foundation, then installing weatherproofing material. Tiles will also be installed at the base of the foundation and a couple of lift pumps will also be installed. We will not be able to start this project until the ground thaws in Spring; a realistic guess is that we will not be able to start this until April, depending of course on the company’s schedule. This first phase will cost $22,500.
The second phase of the project will be to demolish the interior walls of the basement. We had the whole basement inspected, and it was evident that our previous attempts to prevent the moisture damage have not been successful. In many places, the damage to the soft brick walls cannot be patched or even repaired, and they continue to crumble. After the inspection, the construction company did some research and informed us that when it was built, the rectory was not built on a damp-proof course of materials. Demolishing one of the walls may be fairly straightforward is it not load-bearing. However, the other wall will be trickier because it is load-bearing. This second wall can be removed and replaced with steel braces, but this requires an engineer to approve the plan. For this reason, we do not yet have an estimate for how much this will cost. Stay tuned; I will provide another update once we have one.
Lastly, we hope that we have finally resolved the moisture problem in the bell tower walls in the Antwerp church. Some expressed concerns to me that the walls appeared to still have some moisture coming through. For this reason, we asked the construction/restoration company to re-examine the brick before they replaced the wall. After their inspection, they informed us that they had no indication that water was still coming through the wall. However, some sections of the wall have been permanently discolored.
That is all I can think of for now. Let us pray for each other!