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Sunday Sharing

The Parish Life Center: We’re a Go!

We first received the news in an email last week: “the Cardinal has approved St. Edna’s Parish Life Center construction project.” I had heard this was coming, but I wanted to wait until we received it in writing to publicly announce it.

In particular, this means two things: contracts can now be drawn up by the Archdiocese with Henry Brothers (our construction company), and they, in turn, can sign contracts with the sub-contractors and begin to order the materials needed. Also, we will be able to receive a bridge loan from the Archdiocese to pay the construction bills next year, if we need it, but our hope is that we will have almost all of the pledged money collected by that time and will not need much of a loan.

Meanwhile, the approval process has already begun with the Village of Arlington Heights. On September 26, our architect, a representative of Henry Brothers, members of the Building Committee, Pat Freeman, and I met with the Village’s Design Commission and received approval for the design. On October 25th, we are scheduled to meet with the Arlington Heights Planning Commission to receive the final approval. Also, in preparation for that meeting, we are required to hold a meeting with our neighbors. That will be on October 17th in the Hurley Center.

Our architect and construction company are working on a construction schedule. If all goes well, we will have ground-breaking sometime next April, with completion before Christmas. We will save money this way by avoiding “winter conditions”. Of course, you can expect that there will be some disruptions during the building process (perhaps parking and facilities use issues), so I ask for your patience in advance.

So that is what you can expect on the physical plane, but what is the news from the financial side?

So far this fiscal year, we have been collecting about $12,000 a week in pledges. We expect this to diminish somewhat as the participants from the “Bringing Our Vision to Life” campaign complete their commitment. Eventually, if all the pledges from “To Teach Who Christ Is” are completed, we would hopefully be able to pay for the new building in full. However, a bridge loan from the Archdiocese might be needed to pay the bills when we run out of the funds already collected but before we have collected the total amount pledged.

I said “might be needed” because we hope that the difference can be supplemented through two new strategies. You have already seen the first – the blue envelopes in your packets for those who have fulfilled their pledges, or for those who did not make a pledge but now would be willing to participate. These have already been helpful with $4,031.00 donated in September.

A second strategy you will soon see is a list of items needed in the new building for which our parishioners can directly donate money; for example, for folding tables, lobby furniture,  ice maker, commercial dish washer,  etc. We will soon send out the complete list, and you will be able to donate for the complete item or part of it. We hope that this strategy will reduce our costs and keep the amount we need to borrow to a minimum.

Another of my concerns on the financial plane is the diminishment of the amount of our regular weekend collections. As you may have noticed from the weekly reports in the bulletin, so far this year, our collections are more than $20,000 behind the budgeted amount. This was not too surprising for me. Collections usually lag behind as parishioners fulfill their pledges. Also, during the summer and fall, more than a few families are on vacation or take weekend trips, so they miss turning in a few envelopes. Hopefully they will make this up as the year continues.

Another opportunity to help with our collections is to increase the number of parishioners who contribute online through GiveCentral. We presently receive about 20% of our collection income from this online giving method. I am told that if we could double the number of parishioners who contribute this way, our collections would rebound in no time. We will give you more information about GiveCentral and how to sign up soon.

Finally, I know that this will be exciting news for many of you at St. Edna. There have been many people working on this by planning and raising money for more than seven years. We certainly owe a debt of gratitude to all of the donors in both campaigns and to the members of the Building Committee, who have remained committed and shepherded this project along all these years. And we must also thank Fr. Jerry and Fr. Rich for their vision and leadership. I, as a late-comer to the process, am very pleased to add my small contribution.

Fr. Bob


Rev. Robert Heidenreich