May 5th – VI Sunday of Easter

My Dear Friends,

As we begin the month of May, the month of our Blessed Mother, I wanted to give the community an update on our Centennial Campaign. A few weeks ago, a parishioner approached me after Mass and astutely pointed out that the thermometer on our weekly campaign updates has not moved much in the last few months. God bless him because he asked how he could help. I explained to him that it had not moved much because at the beginning of the year the parish was focused on the ABCD campaign, making sure we were fulfilling our yearly obligation to the charities of our local church. I did point out that after an initial big and generous push when the campaign was launched in October, we have essentially been stalled since Christmas. I’ll return to moving the thermometer later in this column, but first a few important updates of what we have accomplished “behind the scenes” since October. 

The Multi-Purpose Center for the school has undergone some significant changes since the initial conceptual renderings we shared with you in our first Centennial Campaign booklet. We have hired a project manager to oversee the preparation phase and, eventually, the construction phase. In the last few months, we have also had several productive meetings with the City of Coral Gables Development Review Committee, which have been helpful in fine-tuning the look and feel of the building. As many of you know, building something in the City Beautiful is not for the faint of heart. We want to construct a beautiful building that mirrors our historic buildings on campus while also being good stewards of the gifts given by all of you. The current architectural designs that Sister Rosalie and I were presented with last week are stunning, and we cannot wait to share them with all of you when they are finalized and ready for final approval. 

For the work inside the church, the contract for the beautiful new pipe organ has now been signed! The organ is now beginning construction at the CB Fisk workshop in New England and well on its way to, God-willing, be installed here in the church in early 2026. Over the next few months, we will be working with Fisk to finalize the design of the organ facade in the scale model. It is our hope to have that scale model of the organ on display in our vestibule once that phase of the project has been completed, as it will help us all to envision just how beautifully the organ will fit and look in the music balcony. And speaking of models: two months ago, many of you noticed the new pew sample that has been in the vestibule, and your response has been so positive. We hope to sign that contract for the pews soon so we can lock in the price and have them installed in the summer of 2025 because our current pews are deteriorating at a rapid rate. 

Back to the thermometer. As you noticed in the paragraphs above, contracts have been signed, project managers, along with architects, engineers, and a wide range of people to help us in this bold endeavor have all now been hired. Suffice it to say: the bills are coming in quickly. Luckily up to now, we have collected sufficient funds to cover these numerous expenses. However, these expenses will continue to grow once we put a shovel in the ground for the Multi-Purpose Center, and once we start making monthly payments to the organ company, pew builders, and other contractors later this year. So, we need to start moving that thermometer!  

To illustrate the point of the parishioner who approached me who did not notice much movement, we only moved from $7,403,471 on New Year’s Day to $7,966,087 as of this weekend’s update. Yes, that is an increase of over $500,000 but remember that it is just pledges. We have only collected $2,322,111, and one million of that came from the savings pledged from the parish and school. Yes, it is a lot of money that we’ve pledged and collected since October, and quite admirable in just seven months, but now we need to pick up the pace of the campaign as we are officially in “action mode.” I beg you to please make a pledge to the Centennial Campaign if you have not already done so. If you made a pledge and have yet to start giving, we urgently need you to come through on your pledge and start making contributions, whether weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Several parishioners have generously increased their already substantial pledges after prayer and reflection, inspired by the vision, scope and magnitude of these projects that we want to complete for our 100th anniversary.  

The theme of this campaign is “Building On Our Legacy.” It is my prayer as your pastor that every parishioner contributes a grain of sand to these projects so we can leave this parish a lasting legacy for future generations. Yes, some grains are larger than others, but what is most important is not comparing your gift to that of others; it is making a sacrificial gift that is reflective of your commitment to our beloved parish community, church and school. I thank each and every person who has been so generous so far and pray that many more will contribute, starting today, so that Little Flower may continue to glorify God for centuries to come. We commend this endeavor to our Blessed Mother during her month and ask for her maternal protection as we continue to build up her Son’s kingdom here on earth: to Christ be the glory forever and ever! 

God bless you all,

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