FROM OUR PASTOR....
With a grateful heart to all those who have worked so hard to bring this proposal before you, particularly our Church Expansion Committee, I am indeed delighted that we are now in a position to reveal the overall conceptual design for our Church Expansion. And while, obviously, we hope you like what you see, we also really look forward to receiving your feedback and suggestions.
Our Pastoral vision anticipates providing the necessary room in every sense, that will allow our Parish family, situated within the fastest growing municipality in our Archdiocese, to both come together and worship as one family and to come to know one another through fellowship, ministry and on-going faith formation for all age levels.
The overall proposal entails 2 phases. We wish we could address everything at once and indeed our needs in every direction warrant doing so, but financial constraints necessitate otherwise: hence the 2 phased approach. Practically, Phase I provides us with an additional 300 seating capacity at 626 seats with focus on the worship space. The addition transforms the Church footprint into a Cruciform shape which works beautifully and evolves logically from what we have. With this addition, we will be able to worship as one community without having people viewing the Mass from the Parish Hall through the audio visual system. Moreover, beneath the new worship space we are adding new additional basement space. This is very important as it will allow our Parish Community to address the real pressures that we have for meeting space for our children’s Sacramental Preparation classes for First Communion and Confirmation, Baptism classes, Youth Ministry, Adult Education and Formation classes, Knights of Columbus and Squires meetings, the newly launched Lady’s Group, Choir rehearsals, as well as providing the space for community building and adequate storage.
Our Parish Community is currently busting at the seams and we are not able to adequately serve their many varied needs. Officially the Municipality of Whitchurch Stouffville is the second fastest growing one in Ontario. Since the Church was first built, the Municipality has tripled from under 15,000 in 1981 to 44, 000 today. One parishioner noted that nine years ago the population was posted at 25,000. The 2013 mid-year assessment by the Municipality projects the population will reach 50,000 by 2017 and over 55,000 by 2021, and is expected to exceed 59,000 by 2026. Presently, each Sunday during the school year, between 80 and 100 people having to follow the Mass outside the Church body itself on an A.V. system even though we have added a third Mass on Sunday mornings.
And as you will notice, none of the above discussions or plans addresses the administrative working space problem, which is extremely limited. This is where Phase II comes into play. We hope we can do this sooner rather than later - once we have had time to complete and become comfortable with Phase I.
We need to come together and allow room for the Lord to let us grow and do all we need to do to serve Him, one another and our neighbour - something that we are finding very challenging to do under the present circumstances. We have a wonderful opportunity to do, as Mother Teresa would say, “something beautiful for God” and for our Community and ourselves. Sure, it will take real effort, but certainly no more than that of the founders of this Parish. The proposed Budget for Phase 1 is indeed well in excess of $3 million dollars and will require a fund raising effort from the parish in the order of $1.5 million dollars for the joint campaign along with generous, creative and accomodating financial support from the Archdiocese as well as our savings, the details of which we will share with you next week. Given the size of our Community, with the help of God's blessings and grace, and a generous faith filled response, it should be doable, and I pray that you agree. Certainly, to delay doing so will make the goal much more difficult to achieve with rising construction costs and the like. Please give this matter your prayerful consideration.
God bless you all.
Sincerely in Christ,