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Parishes building, renovating with funds from Sustaining Hope for the Future campaign

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Dialog Editor

Sustaining Hope for the Future funds are helping to improve parish facilities throughout the diocese

It sounds like a Christmas list — a new rectory for St. John the Apostle Parish in Milford, a renovated parish hall for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Bear, an air conditioning system for St. Bernadette in Harrington.

However, those renovation and building projects and others in process throughout the diocese are being delivered without Santa’s help.

The funds to improve and maintain parish properties are from diocesan parishioners’ own generosity to the Sustaining Hope for the Future capital campaign for $28 million that began in 2013.

 This rendering shows the new rectory that will be built at St. John the Apostle in Milford with the help of funds parishioners donated to the diocese’s Sustaining Hope for the Future capital campaign. The Dialog/Lessard Builders


This rendering shows the new rectory that will be built at St. John the Apostle in Milford with the help of funds parishioners donated to the diocese’s Sustaining Hope for the Future capital campaign.
The Dialog/Lessard Builders

The portion of those donations being disbursed to parishes amounts to nearly $6.7 million of the $22 million that has been received so far, said Deborah Fols, head of the diocesan Development Office that runs the campaign.

Bishop Malooly started the $28 million Sustaining Hope campaign to “re-energize the diocese” after it emerged from bankruptcy in 2011.

The bishop’s goal was to build up the Lay Employee Retirement Fund by $10 million; grow the Priests’ Health and Welfare fund by $3 million, raise for $2 million for sustaining diocesan ministries and designate $11.2 million for parish projects.

The remaining $1.8 million is part of the diocese’s 60 percent and earmarked to satisfy campaign expenses from 2013 through 2018, Fols noted.

When pledges exceeded the original goal by more than $3 million in 2015, the bishop called the response a “real tribute to the people and the pastors” of the diocese.

Each parish’s share of the Sustaining Hope funds is based on it exceeding the 60 percent mandatory portion of their target goals. The remaining 40 percent of the parish’s campaign donations have been returning to parishes.

When and if a parish surpasses 120 percent of its Sustaining Hope target, the rest of the collected dollars are assigned fully to that parish, said Fols.

At the close of 2016’s third quarter, Fols said, $31,636,674 had been pledged with a little more than $9 million remaining to be collected.

Parish hall in Bear

At St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Bear, the pastor, Father Roger DiBuo said the Sustaining Hope funds returning to the parish have helped renovate its 36-year-old church hall and build a pole barn for storage on the parish property.

“We had a really good [Sustaining Hope] campaign.” Father DiBuo said. “I’m very grateful for that.”

The SEAS renovated parish hall has been in use since September. The hall, which was the parish church for its first 18 years, now has new LED lighting, ceiling and floors, and renovated walls, bathrooms and stage.

“The parish is very proud of the hall. We’re excited to use it and bring others to see it. We did not start until we had all the money in hand,” Father DiBuo said.

The pole barn will be used to store booths, grills, tents and parking barriers that are used each year for the SEAS carnival, he added.

The pastor said the parish Sustaining Hope committee “surfaced the projects” the parish needed and a committee also helped design the renovated hall and pole barn. He thanked parishioners Tom Cupples, Joy Capano Lemly, Frank Bartuski and Mark Bucholz for their leadership on the committees.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton also turned to the Diocesan Building Committee for approval and advice on the construction projects.

“We sent all our plans and all our bids to the diocesan committee,” the pastor said.

“They were so helpful. They responded in good time with suggestions when I sent them a proposal.

Committee of experts

Romy Aquino, chairman of the Diocesan Building Committee, said the group reviews plans for all construction project in the diocese that involve spending $25,000 or more.

The committee, under the guidance of Vicar General Msgr. Steven P. Hurley, validates the need for the construction projects, and reviews plans for parish and school projects that have already been OK’d by the bishop.

The committee members have more than 100 years’ combined experience in the building trades, Aquino said. “We have the expertise to cover all aspects of engineering, construction, electrical, mechanical and plumbing. We’re consultants for purchasing capital equipment, HVAC, lighting and major repairs on roofs and upgrades.”

The funds returning to parishes from the Sustaining Hope for the Future campaign are starting to increase the building committee’s work.

“We can sense the excitement and energy of different parishes,” Aquino said. “There has been required maintenance that has been put off for years. All of a sudden all the parishes have come to life.”

As parishes consider projects, Aquino recommends they make a priority list after making assessments of the church, rectory, offices and school needs.

“The Diocesan Building Committee has a lot of relationships with consultants and contractors we can call on for assistance” to help parishes make cost estimates, Aquino said.

“We are more than willing to go anywhere to provide assistance,” he added. “We can look at the history of a contractor, make sure a contractor is respected. We want a contractor who is registered, licensed and bonded to practice in Delaware or Maryland.”

The earlier a parish contacts the Diocesan Building Committee with its plans, the better, Aquino said.

“We are working with you for the most cost-effective manner to build,” he said. “We’re not going to change your goal, and our help is free.”

Rectory in Milford

At St. John the Apostle in Milford and its mission, St. Bernadette in Harrington, Father Anthony Giamello, the pastor, said Bishop Malooly gave the go-ahead for a new rectory at St. John’s and the Diocesan Building Committee has approved the project’s budget for construction.

Lessar Builders in Camden will be the contractor of the new rectory designed by C. O’Brien Architects in Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

The Sustaining Hope project at St. Bernadette will be installation of air conditioning in the parish hall.

Father Giamello said the St. John rectory will be a handicapped-accessible ranch-style house of about 3,600 square feet that includes three suites, each with a sitting room, bedroom and bathroom, and a common kitchen and dining room.

“The next step is we have to level the house on the property,” Father Giamello said. He expects the new rectory will be ready some time in the summer of 2017, “according to the builders.”

Diocesan Building Committee Chairman Aquino said when the drawings for St. John’s new rectory were submitted to the committee, “I gave my comments to Msgr. Hurley; our client is Msgr. Hurley, we communicate through him.”

The committee had questions on what the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system would be and also recommended the parish make sure it has the county’s permission for land usage and grading. They also recommended St. John’s lighting contractor investigate possible rebates from the federal government for energy saving lights.

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