Consider this… Taking care of “God’s House”

When it was time to go to Church, as kids we were told, “we are going into God’s house.”  It meant that we were about to enter into a sacred time and a sacred place to encounter God.  Of course, we can meet God in many places: our office, our kitchen, in creation, but there is something to be said about the setting and environment of coming into God’s house, of coming to Church that elevates our hearts and minds above the distractions and illusions of this fleeting world, that asks a sense of reverence and awe from us, that intentionally reminds us of how significant our relationship with God is and invites us into a celebration of that divine love.  Unfortunately, we know how increasingly difficult it is to find sacred times and sacred places as God is continually pushed out of society.  What a treasure we have among us here!

As with any house, “God’s house” needs some tender loving care.  We wanted to give you an update about just some of the projects we have undertaken together with the leadership councils of the parish to keep the whole of St. Mary’s campus a place of welcome, safety, holiness, functionality, beauty, where spiritual life can grow and live and thrive, so that we can be at home with God.   Here at St. Mary’s, we want to afford all those who come to “God’s house” for whatever reason a sacred time and place to encounter God and grow in their relationship with Him as disciples.

The Catholic Education Office: completed over the summer of last year, this has allowed for better collaboration and sharing of resources between our School and Faith Formation for the spiritual growth of all our parishioners great and small.  Our staff and faculty continue to do amazing ministry in our formation!  We have also upgraded the phone system for better functionality in this Internet age.

The Chapel: filled already with much history and many happy memories, the Chapel continues to inspire reverence and awe in our worship.  The  interior painting by Swiatek Studios reflects this inspiration and highlights some of its historical character.  Some of the windows in need of repair have been saved.  The pulpit has been pulled out of storage and restored.  The bells have been fixed and daily call us to prayer.  There are maintenance plans in the works through a generous donor to ensure the organ continues to make beautiful music.

Sidewalks and School Steps: over time, heaving, cracking, and eroding foundations have given way to some safety concerns.  We have invested in doing these projects right so as to keep us in good shape for the years to come.

Soccer Field: poor drainage and grading renders the field unplayable for good portions of the Spring sports seasons and has led to uneven terrain and unsafe playing conditions at times.  This project to add proper drainage throughout the field as well as elevate and regrade it is now underway.

Cemetery: out of respect for our beloved dead and the hope that is held in store for them at the resurrection, the statues, fencing, and trees have all been given attention to this past year.  May they rest in peace.

HVAC units for gym and cafeteria: the original units installed when the parish center was constructed have deteriorated and one unit needs serious repair that would otherwise leave us without heat in the winter.  With maintenance and such units becoming more expensive, now was the time to invest in new heating and air conditioning units.  These will be installed in October.

Speakers in the Church: how many times have we found it difficult to hear what is being said in Church?  Don’t worry, we ‘heard’ your feedback.  Romans 10:14 says, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?”  This upgrade coming in October will fill in the many dead spots of our current arrangement so that we may listen to God’s word, spoken to us at Mass.

Security Updates: members from the Erie County Sheriff’s Department conducted a walkthrough of our campus over the summer.  While giving us some considerations for security in this day and age, they were impressed with what we have in place and are doing to keep our parishioners and guests safe already.  More information to come.

As you can see, good things continue to happen at St. Mary’s!  Your generous support has made all this possible.  And yet, this work is an ongoing one, and there still exists many possibilities in which we need your continued support and sponsorship to carry St. Mary’s into the future.  Thank you for taking the ownership of making this spiritual house, a home.

  ~Fr. Luke