My dear friends,
As summer quickly approaches, there are many projects that the parish is about to undertake that I wanted to update all of you on in today’s bulletin. The biggest of these projects has to do with the dome of our church. Two years ago this month, we had a pretty significant leak on the north side of the dome. After it was fixed, the roofers came to me and gave me a frank assessment: “Father, you have maybe one year left in that dome.” This was a result of many decades of patches due to leaks. The roof of the dome needed to be replaced. I asked them to please hold it together until the summer of 2023 because we had weddings scheduled during the summer they proposed to do the work. By God’s grace, the dome has made it to the summer of 2023, and beginning next month the roofers will begin the process of replacing the roof of the dome which is not an easy job. Two years ago, we were able to block off the parish schedule and did not schedule any weddings during this summer. This should not affect the celebration of Masses, baptisms, and funerals in our church since all the labor is exterior work.
Once the work is completed in late August, new Spanish tile will be installed, and since new tile is going to be installed in the dome, matching tile will be installed on the rest of the roof of the church as well. Following this project, we hope to undertake something we’ve been holding back on which is the lighting of the dome to illuminate the Coral Gables sky just as the Biltmore Hotel does. The cross at the apex is lit thanks to one of our benefactors, but we really want to light up the dome as it deserves. An example of the lighting work that we will undertake can be seen at St. Mary’s Cathedral which can be seen clearly when you drive up I-95 at night.
So at this point in the column you might be thinking, “Father, doesn’t this roofing project come with a considerable cost?” Why, yes it does. Thankfully, we’ve known about it for some time and our Finance Council has helped me in putting monies aside for this massive project. This is mainly due to the overwhelming generosity you display in your offertory gifts every Sunday. You have all noticed the collections going up when the totals are published in the bulletin. Since the pandemic started, Online Giving has become our primary source of giving as more than half of our parishioners use this platform to give their Sunday offertory. Your generosity along with the massive influx of weddings we have had over the last two years, and the significant revenue generated by Comber Hall has allowed us to undertake this roofing project without having to raise any additional funds. I thank the Finance Council for their guidance, and once again thank each of you for your stewardship of this parish which is your home.
This just addresses the roof, but as you can probably imagine with a church that is 70 years old and a hall, a school, and a rectory that are almost 100 years old, there are countless things that need to be fixed daily. Once we are done with the roof, I will present to the parish the projects that our Parish Council has lined up next. They are all very exciting, and I cannot wait to share them with you especially as we draw closer to the parish’s centennial in 2026.
One small thing that I do ask for now, and I addressed this at one our Masses last week: please be gentle with our pews and kneelers. That is one of the projects we have on the horizon. Believe it or not, those are not the original pews from 1954. They were installed during a church renovation in the summer of 1987. The pews are literally on their last legs. So when we kneel for consecration and put the kneelers up when we stand for the Our Father, please put them up or down with great care. The new pews are still a few years away, so let’s treat these with gentle love for the time they have left.
God bless you all,