Dear Parish Family,
St. Mary’s is blessed with an iconic campus of buildings. Our gothic church, built more than 150 years ago, looks more like a cathedral than a parish church. Our rectory is 172 years old, and while it has served as the site of our parish offices and a home for our priests for almost 80 years, it also had previous lives as a single-family mansion for a lumber baron… and as a tuberculosis hospital.
And what can we say about our gorgeous school? Long before the Harry Potter novels were a craze, our grand, 115,000 sq. ft. Depression-era Academy was the original Hogwarts and has The Great Hall – the only replica of Westminister Abbey in the United States.
Last fall, on the morning of October 30th, we gathered under the parking lot tent with an urn of coffee and boxes of donuts, unsure of who would respond to our offer to participate in a large-scale church and rectory clean-up. To our supreme delight, more than 80 members of our parish came, and like an army of worker ants, they swept, dusted, scoured, rinsed, mopped, shined, polished, sanitized and spruced up our enormous church and our 30-room (8-bathroom) rectory! Not even three hours after we began, our parish home sparkled beyond description.
Many of the volunteers who came that day told us that it personally benefited them as much as it benefited the parish. They knew they made a difference in accomplishing a task with a clear beginning, middle and end. Having broken into teams, they got to know parishioners they’d never talked to before and experienced the joy of being a member of a community with such good-hearted, generous people.
As you know, it was a long, cold winter this year, and the many frigid days and sloppy weekends mean that, although our wonderful facilities maintenance coordinator, Dave Mattis, cleans the church each week, there is residue of winter that requires a deeper cleaning to remove. And across the street in the rectory, this winter included a boiler failure and the bursting of some pipes, which means that, for many weeks, the boots of contractors walked the floors and the residue of plumbing and construction repair projects coats the walls and baseboards.
So we’re hoping to recreate the wonderful experience of last fall with a robust turnout for our Spring Clean-up Day happening THIS Saturday, June 4 from 9:00 until Noon. We have projects of all types for people of all ability levels and interests. And one of our ambitious hopes would be that if we get enough people there that day, we could even tackle a project or two in the School.
This morning of collaboration will benefit the parish tremendously and, based on what people told us last time, will enrich the lives of every person who participates.
Would you consider joining us?
Your grateful pastor,