Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
Well into the summer now, I thought I’d give you the news that the rectory improvements accomplished over the past year or so are very much being appreciated! We used the new and improved second guest room upstairs for the weekend that Father Scott Perry was here for his Masses. Then seminarian Brad McNeal has been enjoying the improvements in the seminarian’s room. Just this past week we finally organized all the books up in the library, which also serves as the seminarian’s study area. I finally purged many of the books I had purchased for my licentiate and doctorate in Rome – books that really are not so useful for the more general academic work a priest does for homily prep, etc. I am grateful for all the help Brad provided for this library project, initially organizing all the books, so that the two of us could quickly place the books in order on shelves, and then send to his seminary the books I no longer need.
Then there’s the patio space between the garage and the rectory, which has been extremely useful and convenient and enjoyable. I can think of three occasions now when we have hosted a seminarian and his parents for dinner on the patio. Then there are a couple of occasions with seminarians themselves, and we’ve talked on the patio. Then we had the reception for our newly ordained Father Scott Perry. Additionally, I have hosted on the patio a few more casual gatherings after more formal committee meetings. Bottom-line: the patio has been a great addition to the rectory!
The next project to tackle for the rectory is the front porch. The floor of the porch is in great disrepair, even somewhat rotted in one corner. We plan on replacing the floorboards with synthetic boards that will require less maintenance in the future. The porch ceiling needs to be scraped and repainted. It’s in pretty bad shape. Then a couple of the stone pillars on the corner of the porch are out-of-plumb. These have to be rebuilt (We’ll use the same stone) in order to provide the right foundation for the rest of the porch. Soon after I arrived, we had to screw L-brackets onto the railings and pillars to keep the railings from slipping out of the pillars. Sometimes people would talk to me on the porch, and they would lean on the railings as they were talking. Needless to say, this was pretty dangerous! So we screwed in the L-brackets as a temporary measure. Once the corner pillars are straightened up again, the railings should fit back into the notches securely. Thanks to generous donations from Monsignor Cleo Schmenk’s estate, and from various parishioners, we already have the money needed to complete the porch project. We sent a thank you to Monsignor Schmenk’s family, and to all those who have given already towards repairs at the rectory. But, here’s another huge thank you to everybody who has helped financially or otherwise with the rectory upgrades! The rectory is so much more comfortable and useful now in so many ways!
The next big project on the near horizon is replacing the siding of the rectory. If you walk around the rectory and simply observe, you can see the many places where the current wood siding has been compromised. There are a bunch of holes and bare patches. The longer we wait on replacing the siding, the more weather damage occurs. We still have to obtain some additional bids for this project, but initially it seems it will cost somewhere around $45,000. Once we have any project $30,000 or above, we are required to submit three bids to the Diocese, asking for permission to complete the project. Our plan is to do this in the fall, but we have to do some fundraising beforehand, so that all the money for this very necessary project doesn’t have to come out of the bank. Please consider whether you would be able to give something towards the siding project.
With all of the external and internal upgrades, it has been our intention to maintain the aesthetic integrity of the rectory. I am very aware that my predecessor, Father Fillman, put some serious thought and work into making the external aesthetic of the home period-proper. I don’t want to backtrack on things he did to make the house more beautiful. So, even as we are adding new siding and making major repairs to the porch, we are attempting to keep all of the highlights and trim work with the various colors and shapes (e.g., the scallops that are now part of the siding of the gables, that weren’t there before Father Fillman’s updating of the outside; the turned wooden columns above the porch pillars).
Once again, thanks to anybody and everybody who has helped in any way towards improvements on the rectory! We are trying to use the rectory a bit more now to host various gatherings. That way everybody can come to know the rectory as their parish house, and enjoy the improvements.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,