From the Pastor: Building Committee Needed!
Two weeks ago I passed on information that Bishop Parkes wanted you to know, namely, that he supports the people of Epiphany and, as our Traditional Latin Mass community continues to grow, that we can put together a committee to explore building a larger (and “real”) church and other facilities. Today I want to put out word that I am searching for active parishioners to be a part of that committee. I already have a few members who worked together a few months back to get some preliminary work done. As you already know, they brought in a civil engineer to survey the situation and see if it was even feasible to build on the small parcel of land we currently have. It is important to note that the land next to us and behind Epiphany Arms, although owned by the parish, is currently leased to the Federal Government for the use of that subsidized elderly housing facility. We may be able to use part or all of the open field but, then again, we may not be able to. Many questions still need to be answered.
For the committee, we will need people knowledgeable about construction, especially actual Church architecture and construction, so that we do not wind up with modernist junk that doesn’t fulfill its liturgical purpose but serves primarily to show off how anti-traditional church architecture can be. Acoustical engineers can be of great importance in this as well, or so it would seem to me. We also will need to build a parish social hall as—get this—a stand alone building instead of one whose use interferes with liturgical functions in the church! Plus, depending on whether we can save or have to destroy the old rectory to fit the buildings on our property, we may need new living quarters for the current and future priests, for we will need extra parochial vicars soon enough, too. Oh, and don’t let me forget that we need office space and classroom space and more and more and more...
Of course, we will also need people who know about landscaping so that we don’t just have a bunch of buildings surrounded by weeds and concrete. And we will need input from, though they may not need to be on the committee, musicians, liturgists, catechists and others who actually use the church, hall, office, and classroom spaces and can make sure nothing important is overlooked. An example of things that need good input from many people is bathroom facilities. Absolutely, they should not be in front of the church where people have to walk past the sanctuary to get to them. But how about in the classroom/meeting room building? Do we have them in all of the rooms or only some? Do we also include, or exclusively create, outside bathrooms? Or do we have only bathrooms down a common hall? If all of the bathrooms are inside, it means that all outdoor activities must also include unlocking buildings, giving access to even “undesirables” who may wander about at will while everyone is occupied outdoors. But having outdoor bathrooms also gives access to others when nobody is around. Or else everybody who has any activity must also have a key to lock and unlock bathrooms, not just buildings, before and after each event. Oh, there are so many more issues just with this one seemingly little problem! So we need people who have knowledge and experience and common sense to be on the committee.
Fortunately, all of our parishioners live close enough that they are able to walk here for the many meetings which will be necessary. What? This is a commuter parish? See, some things I forget. Yes, it will be quite a commitment of drivetime plus meeting time to be onboard with this. And the pay, well, volunteers at the church only receive their reward in Heaven, so gas and other expenses are all part of what you must consider before raising your hand to join. And, once we get going, we will probably also discover that many, most, or even all of the meetings must take place during the workday in order to get with those upon whose jobs we depend to undertake this project, such as those from the diocese’s construction office, those in the city permit department, and many others of whom I am not yet aware. That also may be a hardship for some who would otherwise be great for the committee.
I had the opportunity to build a new school building at my last parish. This project, since it involves more than just a school building, will be even more complicated. It will be a lot of work for everyone involved. But don’t let that stop you. Imagine if you have the skills we need but you want to just let others take the hard job of planning it all out. We could wind up with a church that looks like (insert just about any Florida Catholic church built after 1950 here and gasp at the thought)! Or we could wind up with classrooms/meeting rooms without any sort of storage. Or a social hall without a kitchen. Or worse.
My dream, though, instead of building a new church, is to bring a big, beautiful, closed church from up north and transport it block by block down here, having, of course, to add air conditioning to make it usable. All we need to make this work is people with the necessary skills (especially prayer!) to do this for God’s glory and man’s salvation. Let me know if you wish to be a part of the team!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka