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Foundation for the Future capital campaign

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A letter from Rev. Raymond Hahn, pastor of OLMC:

As we enter the 60th Anniversary Year of our parish, we can look back on the 10 years since our Golden Anniversary Year in 2010 and recall the changes in our parish during that time. Two years after the 50th Anniversary of the building of our church, we have some unfinished work to do. In 2010, we began a three-year Capital Campaign to renovate our church building. With the generous support of our parishioners, we installed our new stained-glass windows created in 1917, repainted the entire church, replaced all our lighting, commissioned our new pulpit and crucifix, and paneled our sanctuary and the Fatima shrine. We did only what we had the funds to do. We left some things undone because of the Pastoral Planning process begun in 2015. Now, we have the opportunity to complete our church renovation in our Foundation for the Future Capital Campaign.

What are our plans? With the advice of our architects, the Roth Marz Partnership, we intend to restore and install the last two stained-glass windows, the Agony in the Garden and Jesus and the Children, above our two front entrance doors. We will replace the plastic sheets in the front of the church with insulated glass, the lower 8 feet of which will be frosted, as well, as suggested in the recommendations of the Homeland Security survey of the church building. This will provide enhanced security for the congregation. We will also repoint and waterproof the brickwork on the front of the church and replace the current doors with new doors that will allow keyless entry controls. Our side doors will also be equipped with keyless entry. We will re-carpet the entire church and treat the concrete floor at each pew entry to protect against the pitting that you can see at every aisle in the rear half of the church. If we are successful enough in this campaign, we will also install a handicapped entrance at the side door of the church and a camera system around the church for added security. Finally, if funds allow, we will replace our no longer functional bell system and install the speakers on the rear roof of the church. (We lost our speakers which are on the roof of Scheffner Hall when the electrical line running to the church sacristy was cut during the installation of our new gas meter). The total cost of our church project, not counting the extras, is estimated at about $130,000.

We have a second goal in this campaign: reducing our parish debt to the diocese. Since 2003, our parish has fallen behind in payment of diocesan assessments for various purposes (diocesan fund, school support, etc.). A major portion of this debt, exceeding $700,000, has accrued from school support assessments for the Catholic elementary and secondary schools in Erie County. This year, for the first time in nearly 17 years, we have begun to pay our annual assessments. But the back assessments remain. The Diocesan Finance Office has agreed to forgive a portion of our debt based on our payments. So, a portion of our $300,000 goal will help to reduce our parish debt.

Our $300,000 goal will also include our 2020 Catholic Services Appeal assessment of $41, 290. There will be no separate CSA appeal this year for that reason. Your contributions to our Foundation for the Future Campaign will pay for the 2020 CSA, the renovation of the church and paying off our diocesan debt.

This is a three-year campaign. That means that you have 36 months, beginning this March, to complete your pledge payments to the campaign. Enclosed with this letter, you will find a pledge envelope on which you can inform us of the amount you wish to pledge for the three-year period. You can make a down-payment and divide the remainder by 36 equal payments or you can make no initial payment and simply divide the total pledge by 36. We are most grateful for whatever amount you decide to contribute to the campaign.

On the weekend of February 29 and March 1, I tried to give additional details in my sermon at all the Masses. I would be happy to answer any questions about our plans, our debt or the campaign. Just call the parish office or come in to see me.

The Foundation for the Future Campaign is an ambitious effort, but with God's help and yours, we can succeed. When the campaign is complete, we will have a more beautiful and safer church, a financially stable parish and a solid foundation for many years to come. May Our Lady of Mount Carmel bless our efforts in her name and the help you will give us in completing our parish campaign. For more information visit our website at www.olmc-erie.org.

Sincerely yours in Christ,