Over the last few weeks we have been celebrating Sunday Masses in the gym. Even though I would have liked to get us back into the Holy Family Chapel soon, I am afraid we will be in the gym for a few more weeks. Much has been accomplished in the chapel but several finishing touches need to be completed. I am hoping that we can return to the chapel with a minimum of interruption. The statues for the three shrines have been ordered from Italy and they should be on their way. Rigali Studio is in the process of making the main stained-glass window as well as the medallions of the Stations for the fourteen windows around the chapel. In this column I would like to give you an update.
The green tiles on the walls have been skim-coated and painted over. The original windows have been removed and new thermal windows have been installed. Once the stained-glass windows are constructed, they will be installed on the inside of the thermal windows. The whole chapel has been re-painted in a bright, off-white color making the whole space more open and airy. The old ceiling tiles were dirty and brown and they have been replaced. New LED lights have been installed and thus the chapel has become much brighter and more cheery.
The sound system was rather old and technologically outdated. Several speakers were not functioning. We have installed a new sound system and all the speakers in the chapel are now new. Hopefully this will ensure greater sound quality and help everyone to participate better in our liturgies. Sound-wise special provisions have been made for the choir.
We have ripped out the old carpet and installed carpet tiles. By doing this, we hope to save money. If a certain portion of the carpet gets ruined, we can replace only that portion instead of replacing the entire carpet. We have also added a six-inch molding along the walls to protect the dry wall in case the space floods.
Speaking of flooding, we have done whatever is reasonably possible to prevent it from happening. We flooded a couple of years ago when the whole Park Ridge flooded. Since then the window-wells have been cleaned and the drain lines have been cleared. A pump that was not working has been fixed. We are in the process of setting up a battery back-up so that the pump will work even in the case of power failure. There was a suggestion to repair the drain tiles around the building but the costs would have been prohibitive, running into hundreds of thousands of dollars. It will be cheaper to clean up the area in case of flooding than to fix the drain tiles with no one hundred percent guarantee that the place will not flood. In the last year and a half we have had no flooding at all.
The back wall behind the altar has been taken down and the space has opened up. The sanctuary has been totally re-done with a new look. Once the large stained-glass window of the Holy Family is erected behind the tabernacle, the sanctuary should look stunning. We are hopeful that the new sanctuary will allow people to follow the Mass better and pray better.
The bas-relief of the Holy Family that was in the sanctuary will be mounted on the wall where the Stations were. On that wall we will also inscribe the words that were originally in the chapel: “Let the little children come to Me…” Thus we will honor the tradition of the chapel and memorialize the many individuals who have contributed to the Masses downstairs. We are grateful to every parishioner who has made the chapel a welcoming home to young and old alike.
This is our first capital campaign project and it has not been easy to get to this point. The process to get the approval from the archdiocese has been slow. When we started the project, I was under the impression that the project would be more cosmetic. Now I realize that we practically gutted the chapel and made it totally new. I hope and pray that the new chapel will serve children and families for generations to come.
I hope you are excited as I am about the Holy Family Chapel. If you are still considering making a pledge to our campaign, please do. We still have many needs and with the need to replace the organ, we welcome every donation, big or small.
I would like to remind all those who have given. Please realize that your donations go to the archdiocese and then they turn around and deposit our portion in our account. All this takes time. Since they take 40% (up to $2.4 million), they pay for all the administrative costs. As such, the archdiocese keeps all records and sends out reminders. If you are contacted by the archdiocese, please know that they are NOT asking for more donations for a different campaign.
As we are into the execution portion of our capital campaign, my heart is brimming with gratitude – to God, the giver of all gifts, and to all our parishioners who have been more than generous with their sacrificial gifts. My special thanks go to our business manager, Joan Macpherson, and Joe Levander, our maintenance director, for all the hard work they put in to ensure the smooth progress of the entire project. May God bless you all and watch over you!
Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.
After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...