Below is a summary of Fr. Eilerman’s address to our parish at the weekend Masses of 29 April 2018 concerning the beautification of the church, a master plan, and information-input meetings that will be held on Wednesday, 9 May and Monday, 14 May at 7 pm in the Spirit Center.
Soon after my arrival in 2011, I realized that I would be Pastor St. Mary for a number of significant anniversaries.
· The 150anniversary of the consecration of the current Church in 2014
· The 200 anniversary of the first Mass celebrated in Lancaster in 2017
· And now we are preparing for the biggest of these celebrations – the 200 th anniversary or the bicentennial of the founding of the parish in 2020
The heritage of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish long history and it has prominent place in the life of the community of Lancaster. In my 6 and half years, I have come to understand the love and the pride that you the parishioners have in your parish and your church.
The church is the heart of our parish. In the past 8 of years much has accomplished to preserve the exterior of the church
· Replacement of the stone finials and repair of the bell tower
· A new slate roof and lighting protection system
· Spot replacement, tuck-pointing, and sealing of brick, repairing of stone ornamentation, and painting of wooden soffits and trim.
The exterior of the church is now in very good condition and it’s time for us to turn to the interior of the church.
The Maintenance committee has become aware of a number of issues with the interior of the church.
· The fabric wall covering is dirty and after being examined by professional cleaners, it has been determined that it cannot be cleaned.
· Paint is peeling and blustering where water leaks have occurred over the years before the replacement of the roof.
· Plaster repair
· Lighting is in need of a updating: replacing the current incandescent lighting with new LED lighting would realize significant savings in our electric bill.
· The wood floor beneath the pews is need of being re-finished, to protect it from further deterioration.
· Restrooms inadequate and not handicap accessible
· Doors have warp and becoming difficult to open, close, and lock
· An inadequate quieting room
To address these issues, architect William Heyerwas invited to evaluate the interior of the church and to begin strategizing how these issues might be addressed with the goal of having the work of beautifying the interior of the church accomplished by The Feast of the Assumption, Aug. 15, 2019 – the beginning of the Bicentennial celebration. The maintenance and Finance committees also chose Corna- Kokosingto be the General Contractor for the project.
While this process was under way it became clear to the maintenance and finance committees, as well as to me, that it was not just the interior of the church that should be evaluated, but whole of the parish campus. A master plan needed to be developed. So that priorities could be set and whatever projects the parish under took, would be compatible with future projects. To accomplish this task the architectural firm of Schooley –Caldwellwas engaged to develop a Master Plan. They have been working for the past two months, studying our campus and speaking with parish, school, and pre-school leaders about the physical needs of the parish.
In the past, we have been able to accomplish work on the Church, School buildings, and Cemetery by using reserve funds alone. In order to achieve the goals of the beautification of the church and the other projects contained in the master plan, a capital campaign will be needed.
You are invited to attend one of two meetings to hear more about the Beautification of the Church and the Master Plan, to ask questions and to give input. The architect William Heyer, representatives of Schooley-Caldwell,who are developing the Master plan, and Corna-Kokosing, the General Contractor, will be present. These meeting will be held in the Spirit Centeron Wednesday May 9 and Monday May 14, both meetings are at 7:00 PM and are open to everyone in the parish.
Thank you for attentiveness to this presentation. It’s an exciting time for our parish as we prepare to celebrate our Bicentennial and begin the third century our existence as a parish. I look forward to see you at one of the informational meetings in May. Please continue to pray for me as I will hold you and your family in my prayers.