I think that a few clarifications and explanations are necessary for the good of our parish at this time. Based on various conversations I have had with people throughout the parish, I hope that I will be able to shed some light on matters currently being questioned.
First, there are two fundraising efforts taking place simultaneously throughout the diocese. Hopefully, you are familiar with the annual House of Charity appeal which directly supports the charitable endeavors of the diocese. This appeal is nothing new to the diocese since it was begun by the late Bishop Guilfoyle many years ago. In addition, the Catholic Strong appeal was more recently initiated to help individual parishes with more long-range projects/goals like building repairs and upkeep as well as parish ministries. By design, seventy percent (70%) of what is raised in this appeal stays right in the parish to accomplish whatever is needed. This appeal is set up for a three to five year period in which we are asked to make a pledge towards the future legacy of our parish/church. Please remember that the contributions of many others helped to build what we already have and we are being asked to make an ongoing gift to sustain Holy Angels Parish into the future.
Next, I want to update you on the sale of the former Most Holy Redeemer campus. Plans continue for settlement on this property, scheduled to take place at the end of February. Deptford Township is the intended buyer. The proceeds of the sale will be put primarily towards the reduction of our $2.5 million parish debt. While the sale will not eliminate this debt completely, it should make a significant impact.
The necessity of the purchase of the property on 81 Cooper Street has been questioned by some, especially when the parish has so much debt. Let me take the time to explain the rationale behind this purchase. While the office staff has worked out of the Cooper Street rectory for many years, this is far from an ideal situation. No one really should live and work in the same building day after day. The lack of privacy is an important concern. Currently, we are fortunate that there are four priests living here. (In addition, one priest lives at the rectory in National Park.) However, not one priest (or deacon) currently has an office to work out of or conduct parish business in Woodbury. There is simply not enough room. We work out of the common living room or on the dining room table.
As pastor, I have not had an office of my own for the past year and a half. Monsignor DiMauro had plans to move the parish offices into a remodeled Green Hotel (where our current parking lot is), but the plans were unworkable, the hotel was razed and became our additional parking lot. Once 81 Cooper Street is renovated, there will be offices for the parish staff (secretary, ministry coordinator, receptionist, bookkeeper), the priests and deacons, the religious education personnel, a meeting room and various other areas like a small kitchen and lunch area. It will consolidate most of our offices in one central location across from the church and rectory and with adequate adjacent parking. Some Catholic Strong funds are earmarked for this project.
Finally, we continue to have serious concerns over other properties including the Ministry Center (former convent) which needs substantial, costly repairs. This building, in particular, has been a topic of discussion and worry for many years prior to my becoming pastor.
I will attempt to keep you up-to-date on these and other matters as things continue to evolve. Please pray for me as I will for you!
Fr. Ed Namiotka
Holy Angels Rectory
81 Cooper St.