Fr. John's Letter Archives

Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.

Happy 82nd Birthday

06-15-2014Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

This past week our Parish officially turned 82! The Parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was erected in 1932 but the community existed as a Mission in Tempe since the 1870's using a small adobe Church where now stands the Sun Devil Stadium and then built a more permanent structure on University and College and finally migrating to the Rural Road property in the late 1950's with the cornerstone of the current Church being laid in 1968. If you go to our website and click on the Video Gallery you can watch the video of the History of the Parish that was put together for the 75th anniversary. It is certainly a history of a community's growth with the buildings and properties providing the structure for that growth to happen. The history of the parish demonstrates the old adage: build it and they will come!

What always amazes me is that the move from the "old Church" to the new campus increased the size of the Church and the property by ten times! That was quite a hopeful vision that the community would grow accordingly. And maybe what's more amazing is that the community, a lot smaller than it is now, was able to build and pay for a new Church, Hall, school, convent and rectory. Many of you were around when the parish moved to the Rural road property and helped build the present campus. But unlike many of you, the buildings on the campus are starting to show their age!

So here's the latest triage report for the bricks and sticks that are on our property. We have done a fairly good job of keeping up with the maintenance and capital improvements needed on our property but there are a few large outstanding issues we need to start working on.

You may have noticed on the front entrance to the Church one of the doors has lost the window pane. We lose several window panels a year, much like you get a cracked windshield on your car, from the stones that get kicked up from vehicles on Rural road. The other problem with all those windows is that it makes the front entrance very hot and that puts a strain on the Church AC units (issue number 2 see below). So rather than replace another window it is time to replace the entire front entrance to block out some of the light and heat and beautify the front entrance. Additionally the doors in the front need replacing as well. Currently we are getting some designs that I will share with you soon.

The AC units that serve the Church are coming to the end of their life cycle. The problem is that the units presently on the Church are no longer manufactured due to the change in EPA requirements. Getting the newer units is no big deal, however the air handlers in the Church (that move the air through the building) can not handle the power requirements for the new units. Which means the air handlers need replacing as well, an expensive and difficult job as the original air handler was put in before the roof was, so dismantling it and having new custom air handlers made will be required. Additionally we need to add a unit to the front of the Church, which will help cool the front and relieve some of the strain on the main units. The approximate cost for all that work is around $125, 000. The good news is that the current units are working so we have time to find ways to finance the project and to do it in parts if we chose.

Finally, one of the first buildings on the property was the convent, now used as the Preschool. That building has outlived its lifespan especially with the wear and tear we put on it. Not only that, but our needs have grown as well. My vision for a new building includes a much enlarged Preschool (Early Childhood Learning Center), an area for our St. Vincent de Paul conference, a small chapel for Perpetual Adoration, a second floor for our Youth Programs, a underground amphitheater for our school and parish use and a new classroom for our Fine Arts program.

In order to accomplish this a capital campaign is needed and the ballpark figure we need to raise is $1.5 - 2 million. We are in the initial stages of planning and will provide more information by the end of the summer.

Reviewing the past 82 years shows that our parish has grown and been able to keep up with the growth. This is another moment for us to continue to do just that. During our 75th Anniversary our theme was from the prophet Haggai: Greater will be the future glory of this House and in this place I will grant prosperity". That theme continues to today and I hope you will help us build a parish that enables us to have a greater future.

Love, Fr. John B.