This post has the purpose of making visible several items that have recently been flung over the transom and into my cluttered space.
First, I had a note from an old friend who is back in the traditional Catholic tour business. He asked me about being chaplain for a traditional Mass trip to Poland in August 2024. I thought I might test the waters. Anyone interested?
Second, some great guys who formed a music group will have a
Summer Sacred Music Collegium
August 6th – 12th, Boston, MA
Presented by Floriani
Join Floriani for a 5-day training intensive for young adults in Boston this August, aimed at forming intermediate-level musicians to become leaders in the liturgical renaissance of sacred music. You will get to sing and conduct chant and polyphony, apply what you’ve practiced in the context of awe-inspiring Extraordinary and Ordinary Form liturgies, sing daily from the Liturgy of the Hours, participate in seminars on liturgy and music, and enjoy communal meals and mirth.
You might remember these guys from my time in Italy last year during pro-life pilgrimage singing in different places. For example, here we were at a women’s health care center in Genoa.
Here we were at San Fruttuoso:
On another note, I received this. It’s a tough situation they face. The one who sent it is entirely reliable. He and I have visited the Benedictines of Gower many times. I’ve known him since the early 90’s. I added some emphases.
You have often said, “If you never ask for a miracle, you will never receive one.” We are asking for one.
St. Andrew the Apostle Parish is a small but growing suburban parish and school in Kansas City. We have grown nearly 300% in the past dozen years, not because we are in a growth area of town, but because we are unapologetically Catholic. Not long after our current pastor arrived, he installed an altar rail and made other improvements. Long story short, our aging parish of a few hundred families is now a rapidly growing parish of 1400 families that currently has five men in seminary. Our school has a waiting list and our small church is overflowing into an adjoining room at every mass. When we decided to build a new church a couple of years ago, we wanted to build something that not only offered appropriate glory to God but made a statement to the world that Catholics can still build magnificent parish churches like our ancestors did that draw people to God and inspire holiness. And we miraculously raised all the money to do it. But like the road to sainthood, we need a second miracle.
Our 1400 families raised more money than any fund appeal in the history of the Diocese. Enough to pay for the original estimated price of our generational church and new classroom space – $26 million. We even did it without a professional fund-raiser so that those significant sums of money could go to God as well. We then helplessly watched as each set of drawings came back from the architect and construction manager with millions in increases. We’ve chosen to defer some pieces and have managed to re-engineer some things without sacrificing the sacred, traditional Roman Catholic expression of the church. Still, though, we are now millions short, and our 1400 families can’t afford the loan it would take to bridge the gap and also maintain the quality of the school we’ve built that is having to turn kids away due to lack of space.
As you can see from the online renderings and photos of a restored 34′ century-old baldacchino, this is indeed an unapologetically Catholic statement church. We did everything and more that was asked of us. Our timing was lousy. Had we outgrown our current church 2 years earlier, we would likely be consecrating the new church this fall. And frankly, with normal inflation, we would still have been able to do it. But the recent disruption to supply chains and the construction industry was and remains unprecedented. The hand of Satan has appeared often in this journey. He does not want this church built.
We are praying that your community of readers can provide the second miracle.
In about a year, we have gone from having enough to “pay cash” to about $10 million short. Somewhere in your readership may be blessed people who can themselves or collectively with friends, bridge our gap. They share our vision. They share our frustration. They share our unapologetically Catholic faith and hope for what this church can be. Not for the parish that will build it, but for the world that will see it. For the bishops in America who will see it. For those in Rome who will see it. We seek the angels bearing the miracle for which we are desperately praying.
And our time is about up.
Our pastor, who personally phoned and got pledges for this project from 125 families while in bed with Covid, is exhausted and feels he has exhausted all of his options. He has announced the project is being shut down. It’s not yet dead but it’s on life support. In about a week, they are planning to announce a process for returning or reallocating pledges. Between now and then, there is a window for any angels to make their presence known so we can call a time-out. Even a chunk of the number above may be enough to breathe the needed life back into this generational effort for the glory of God.
In addition to your comments over the years about asking for miracles, you have also frequently pointed out that of all the moments and places in history, God has chosen to place us in this moment and in this place to do His most holy will. That has been our theme for this campaign. We think we have done what He has asked us to do. Now we need a miracle to bring that work to completion.
We thank you for hearing our plea.
If you don’t ask, you won’t receive.
Sister Wilhelmina, ora pro nobis.
Wow! Thanks so much for sharing those videos of Floriani! I was unaware of them until now. Thanks to you, I located their YouTube channel and just now subscribed.
The sound inside the church San Fruttuoso was beautiful! Thank you.
Very much so, along with several other family members.
Also- The pledge page for Saint Andrews is here:
That note from St. Andrews—and the corresponding note on their parish site (https://sataps.com/project-shut-down)—is tough. A few things stand out on that:
1. You could easily lose the bell tower on that project. Sure, nobody wants to scrap the bell tower, but it’s the kind of thing that’s easily segregated into a separate phase.
2. Their architect is not a specialist in church design, or even a firm dedicated to classical work. They’re a central-casting preparer of dumpster-variety modernist cubes. I would not trust such people with a project of that sort, either on the design side or, most importantly, on the economic side. One suspects that they were chosen because they’re on a short list of diocesan-approved firms, likely for reasons having nothing to do with merit.
3. Building prices, generally speaking, are not up at the moment. Lumber is way down from its pandemic-fueled heights, and steel is up from 2020, but mostly flat over the last two years. The same is true of cement. If they are facing steep inflation in building costs, it’s coming from something other than materials.
4. Returning donations sounds like a boondoggle. Stick the cash in short-term t-bills (over 5% at the moment and likely to go up if the debt ceiling imbroglio isn’t resolved soon) while you figure out a new plan.
This situation with the cost overruns is unfortunate and un-necessary. The parish needs someone who knows how to talk to architects and engineers, because they are being abused.
A similar situation occurred in our parish some years ago when we were raising funds for a new church (had outgrown the existing building). The “new church committee” hired an architecture firm that specialized in Catholic churches and made a very effective presentation before being selected.
But once they were hired, they presented a very expensive design that was millions more than what we could afford. I was able to look at the designs and identify many problems and high cost items. I wrote a three page letter directly to the architect about the problems with his current design. Two months later, we received a completely overhauled design that eliminated many of the high cost design features and was within our budget. We still got a very traditional design, albeit a bit more modest. Unfortunately, I think the architects/engineers are padding the design because they will make more money with a more expensive design.
That’s what I was going to say: Go to Gower and ask Sister Wilhelmina to pray for a miracle for them. I went there this morning and prayed for so many things. I prayed for you and your intentions, Fr. Z. I will add this parish to my intentions. God bless and keep them.
Yes, I am very interested in a potential Pilgrimage to Poland!
Praying for a miracle for St. Andrew’s
Absolutely – I now live in Canada but I was born and raised in Poland and I visit regularly. Being able to go what I consider home (or one of the homes I have), and on a TLM pilgrimage at that, would be fantastic. In addition, it might be my only chance to meet Father Z in person so… sign me up!
Both trips carry some interest for me. Will have to pass on Floriani, due both to current occupational circumstances and no longer being “young”. Being part Polish, and with more planning time, would love to learn more about a potential pilgrimage next year.