Praised be Jesus Christ! Please pardon the interruption, but I’d like to use this week’s column to give an update about some of the projects currently happening at St. John’s. One happy result of the money raised in part by the pig roast is that we’re updating Saint Francis Hall. This room is used by a variety of groups: the Boy Scouts, our youth groups and Young Adults gatherings, Women at the Well and our Secular Carmelites. The work we’re doing will benefit these groups and help them grow closer to God and to each other. By now you’ve probably noticed the incremental work we’ve been doing to make the Columbia Room more welcoming and versatile. Thanks to the work done there, that room is in constant demand and we can be proud of how often our parish is the hub of not only parish and community meetings, but even Diocesan level meetings. Another project that you will not be able to see is about to begin in the bell tower. Our noble and beloved pipe organ is getting some tender loving care – the blower and tremolo are being moved from the bell tower inside the church. This will protect and preserve these parts as well as the motors that drive the blower. Once that work is done, the old wood platforms and the ladder that allow us access to the attic will be rebuilt. My ultimate goal is to reach the very top of the bell tower so as to carve my name there... because I know my Mom will be reading this, I’m just kidding! Last but far from least is the work we are doing in the basement of the church. As you know, we excavated and poured a concrete floor in the main part of the basement last spring. We are presently working under the cry room, the sanctuary, and the sacristy. The goal is again to improve the foundational strength of the church as well as to make heating and cooling it more efficient and cost effective. The most exciting part of the project is that we are building a chapel under the cry room. Bishop Callahan has given us approval and this will give us another place to worship and adore Our Lord in Eucharistic Adoration. Before describing the project further, allow me one caveat: some are already certain that this will soon be the home of our beloved St. John Paul II Eucharistic Adoration Chapel. For the record, we do not have Diocesan approval at this time for such a move. Just the same, please pray that God’s will be done – if He wants us to host perpetual Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, then we will be ready to accommodate this august honor. Your prayers are crucial because the devil will do all he can to wreak havoc and sow seeds of dissension among God’s people. Returning to the work being done in the basement, we will have a beautiful chapel that has good light and is warm in the winter and comfortable in the summer. At this point we are still working out the details of many things, but the hope is to have an “open house” sometime after Easter when you’ll be welcome to walk through and see the progress. Please check our parish website periodically for pictures of the progress we’re making. Added to this work is the desire to put a half bath in the cry room for families. There will also be a bathroom in the basement as well as a stairwell connecting the sacristy to the room directly below it. Please pray for these projects – you can ask the intercession of Venerable Mother Frances Streitel. She founded the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother and founded Saint Joseph Hospital 127 years ago. The chapel will fittingly be named in her honor and in honor of the many heroic Sisters who served this community so generously and faithfully.
May God guide us to know, love, and serve Him with our first fruits and not our last!
Your friend in Christ,