My dear sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus our Lord,
It is appropriate and good that on this Gaudate Sunday (Rejoice Sunday) to share the following news with you. We are truly blessed at St. Elizabeth Seton with dedicated parishioners and the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we can turn the hurricane damage to our parish campus to something extremely positive. Due to the overwhelming and gracious financial gifts from our numerous parishioners we have met and exceeded the insurance deductible for the hurricane damage. The excess donations will help us improve as we rebuild. A true blessing!
The storm damaged the Friary (our religious goods store) which will need interior mitigation to make it habitable again. With the encouragement of the Bishop, “to improve the facilities instead of just repairing,” and with the growing interest in our parish community for involvement and adoration; we have decided to renovate the Friary into an Eucharistic Adoration Chapel and additional meeting rooms. For convenience, the Friary will be moved back into the church.
We envision the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel will be open during normal parish office hours Monday through Friday. We hope to renovate the building to create an intimate space to sit quietly in the presence of the precious body and pray. Along with the Eucharistic Adoration chapel we also need more gathering and meeting spaces. It is becoming more difficult, sometimes impossible, to avail space to our various ministries, committees, and groups. Therefore, we are also planning on creating two meeting rooms within the building to be used for such purposes. And these additional rooms will provide more available space as we create new groups and ministries.
At this time, the cost and layout are still being calculated. However, I give you my word that we will proceed only if/when we have collected the remaining funds to complete the project. Most of the cost is being defrayed due to our insurance coverage to fix the damage caused by Hurricane Irma which makes this the ideal time to make the improvement.
I am extremely appreciative and grateful for the many people of St. Elizabeth Seton who have shared with me as how to use our financial gifts and meet our spiritual, liturgical, and emotional needs. I deem that this grace from God, to create these spaces, are the fruits of our parish’s openness and vitalization from God the Holy Spirit. Thank you for this Christmas gift to all of us.
Peace and grace. Fr. Russell E. Ruggiero