Annual Catholic Appeal:
The following is a reflection from our parishioner Alan Frazier on the 2018 Annual Catholic Appeal at Christ Our Hope.
Hi I am Alan Frazier. For those of you who don’t know me my wife Mary and I along with several of our children have been fortunate enough to be parishioners here at COH the past six years.
I am excited to talk to you today, on behalf of Fr Paul and the Rooftop Garden team, about the project. It is a 1200 sq ft rooftop partially covered garden deck that would be up on the third floor of Josephium building. I will cover the Why and the How of the project and the part all of us can play in this important addition to our home here at the Josepheium. Fr Paul has long wanted to have a place of peace and nature for the Josephium residents to add to their quality of life. He also believes, as I do, that the physical aspects of this church including this new proposed addition and the other improvements we have added over these past eight years are important to the mission and spirituality of COH.
For the Josephium Community we see this project as very important as it will add to their quality of life by bringing nature into their building. We have spoken to residents and managers and the Catholic Housing Services and they agree. The project team believes along with Fr that the Residents’ quality of life is important to us as well. We hope you all agree with us.
We see the rising affluence of our neighborhood that surrounds this parish and while these new neighborhood residents can access their roof top terraces and their decks and the city parks that dot our beautiful downtown this isn’t available to most of our Josephium residents. With the Rooftop Garden we can bring the outdoor beauty and sereneity, an important aspect of life, to our Josephium neighbors. We also see this as a tangible gift to the Josephium community and by doing so… we not only improve their lives but honor them and thank them for enriching our lives.
For the parish community, we also think there will be tangible benefits to incorporating nature into our downtown… rather concrete and asphalt… parish and that it should be thought of as important not a luxury. We are growing this parish by the month in numbers of parishioners and as a consequence increasing the number of meetings we hold either for parish reasons or for our partnerships with downtown groups. Our planning team thinks that having some of these meetings in a landscaped, quiet, partially covered rooftop garden will add to the quality of those meetings and parish celebrations. And finally I think it will be a wonderfully quiet and inspiring place for Fr Paul for contemplation and writing the next inspiring sermon!
So those are the reasons for the Rooftop Garden.
I would like to now quickly take all of you through the process to date and what lies ahead to pull this off.
Fr Paul assembled a group of us together a year or so to explore this idea of his and whether it was actually needed and whether it was practical and rationale for the parish. The team he assembled included the Josephium management, the Catholic Housing Services management, an excellent landscape architect, the building architect who helped Fr Paul to originally convert this space into a church and the finance and the building committees. We started our efforts with a thorough project management process led by Walt Zabriskie, a parishioner and an experienced executive. As you may know Walt sadly passed away late last year. His faith, experience and energy in this project even in his last months of life inspired us all. Pat Malley, a parishioner and a professional real estate executive, has now stepped up to take over the project management and we want to acknowledge here his leadership and energy on this important task.
Fr Paul also reached out to the manager of the building to see if they could and should manage this new feature to the building; to the Archdiocese to get approval that this was appropriate use of parish funds; to CHS who owns this building and to the parish council whether they believed as he did in the importance of the project and whether it could be financed. All the input was very affirmative.
NOW A BIT ON MONEY AND TIMELINES
We have been fortunate to have a parishioner step up as an early donor to this project. This provided the capital to the parish to pay for the consultants necessary at the feasibility stage before we even knew it was appropriate to put before the Parish. So this project has not it impacted the parish resources. We have a further commitment from the same donor to fund us through the next 9 months while we complete drawings, get the engineering input needed, obtain City approval and get estimates and final bids on the project. We expect then about a 6 month construction phase. We will hopefully be working with other donors who want to make a special contribution and we will of course be receiving the excess funds from COH parishioners’ contribution to the Annual Catholic Appeal for the next several years to be able to fund the construction. Our team and Fr Paul believes based upon early estimates that this set of fundings will be enough to make this Rooftop Garden possible without impacting the day to day finances of the parish.
In the team there is an incredible amount of enthusiasm and we hope all of you will share our enthusiasm. We hope you will be motivated in making your Annual Catholic Appeal contribution knowing a good amount of your contribution will go to the Rooftop garden project.