A letter from Fr. Tim on the Church Enhancement

PDF CHURCH ENHANCEMENT-commencement announcement on 11-18-19-bulletin and website

Church Enhancement Project Details – Updates

20 October 2019

Dear Saint Joseph Parishioners,

            I want to give everyone an update on the launching of our Saint Joseph Church Enhancement Project as we get ready to celebrate the 50th birthday of our beloved third parish church building in 2020.

            On 9 May 2019 we interviewed three construction firms and we selected John G. Johnson to be our “construction manager.” On 4 June we reviewed the bids for the project and found them to come in much higher than our original budget figure of $1.4 million. While this figure was a good estimate in the fall of 2018, materials and labor have risen considerably. Adding to this was the wet spring and wet early summer that caused many contractors to be behind in their seasonal schedules and so were not in need of additional work.

            We went out for bid again and reviewed them on 9 July. While the bids came down considerably we were still about $275,000 over the original budget of $1.4 million, and that was after quite a bit of value engineering and listing some project items as “alternates” for a later date. And then came the news about our leaking church roof that I shared with our parish at all the Masses on 20-21 July.

            Brady Burmeister of the Diocesan Facilities Services office has been a great help to us. We have had three evaluations of the roof situation. We know now that the steeple base and the roof finial base are admitting water. And the steeple needs immediate restoration, due largely to weather. The consensus among those who did the evaluations is that taking care of the steeple and finial first just might solve the church roof situation. And this needs to be done anyway. We will know for sure after some heavy rains whether or not we need to proceed with a complete tear-off and re-shingling. And the roof restoration was not part of our Church Enhancement Project fund-raising.

            And then, as you may have noticed, the bell tower is also in need of attention. After evaluation, we have been told that the bell tower is unsafe, with chunks of brick from its upper parts having already fallen to the ground. And, of course, the bell tower was not included in our original Church Enhancement plans.

            All in all, we are going to get started this month with our Church Enhancement Project beginning with the outdoor work before the inclement weather is here. I know that so many people are anxious to see this project get underway – including me.

            We do need to raise some more funds so that the project is delivered as promised and without incurring debt. As I am sure that you know, when working on an older structure there can be some unplanned challenges that arise.

            How much more do we need to raise? We are looking at an additional $500,000. I am very grateful to the Catholic Community Foundation of the Diocese of Cleveland for their advice and counsel in laying out a plan to raise these additional funds during this fall and winter season while the Church Enhancement Project is underway.   

            Is raising an additional $500,000 do-able? I believe that it is. With 300 households from Saint Joseph Parish having contributed to our Church Enhancement Project capital campaign and enabling us to raise $1.4 million, we still have another 1700 households from whom we would welcome a pledge or a gift. Might you be among them?

            Enclosed in this bulletin is a pledge form. And please note that this new pledge fulfillment period continues until 31 January 2022, one year longer than before. We want to make pledge payments easier for those who are pledging now for the first time or for those who would like to increase their original pledge by adding an extra year of contributions.

            You are going to be seeing our Church Enhancement Project getting underway very soon. These are going to be some very exciting times for Saint Joseph Parish. If you have not already done so, may I please invite you to lend your support promptly with a pledge or gift to our Church Enhancement Capital Campaign? Every gift counts and every gift will help us achieve our goal to celebrate the 50th birthday of our beloved church in 2020.

            May I please count on you to be “all in” for this exciting parish project?

            I thank you from my heart for helping to make this dream come true for our parish. And I appreciate your personal support and encouragement for me.

            May the Lord continue to bless you, and those you love, richly and warmly.

                                                            Gratefully in Christ,

                                                            Rev. Timothy J. O’Connor



If you click here you will see the plan layout for the Church Enhancement Project.  This is in PDF form and printable.

St. Joseph Church Enhancement Pledge form.  Click here.  You may download, print and fill out.  This form can be dropped off at the Parish Office,  mailed back or you may fill out, sign and email back to the following email:  parishoffice@stjosephamherst.com.   Thank you.  (rev10/2019)



Fr. TIm’s Homily for Sunday, November 17, 2019


33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time-C


Readings for Sunday click here

Malachi 3: 19-20a
2 Thessalonians 3: 7-12
Luke 21: 5-19

A lot has happened in the last few of days.  I am happy to let you know today that our Saint Joseph Church Enhancement Project is getting underway on Monday, 18 November 2019.

This weekend, 16-17 November, will be the last time that we use this church until this project is completed.  During this coming week, we will be moving into our Saint Joseph Social Hall as our temporary church and, beginning next weekend, on 23-24 November, our Masses will be held there, the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.

The John G. Johnson Company, our construction management team, confirmed with us on Friday that this will be a 5-month project and that the clock begins to run on Monday, 18 November. We hope to be finished in late April.

These will be some exciting times for our Saint Joseph Parish as we prepare to celebrate the 50th birthday of our beloved 3rd church in 2020.  Thank you for all of your support and encouragement. And, of course, your financial gifts and pledges are still needed and appreciated for our Saint Joseph Church Enhancement Project which gets underway on Monday.

Now for a homily reflection:
Today we hear a topic in the Scriptures – in the second reading from the second letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians – that we do not regularly hear about. Paul is talking about laziness or, as the British say, “bone idleness.” He writes: “If anyone is unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.”

There is a story about a duke and a duchess who had a servant in their longtime employ. One day the duchess called in this servant and asked, “James, how long have you worked here?”
“Thirty years,” he responded.
She then said, “As I looked through your contract, you were hired to watch our dog.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he replied.
“But James, the dog died twenty-seven years ago!”
“Oh,” he said. “Is there something else that you would like me to do?”

Being lazy or bone idle… Paul gets after the Thessalonians about this. You see, there were some of them that thought that Jesus’ second coming at the end of the world – which is the subject of today’s Gospel – was going to happen very soon. “So why bother with work? Let’s just sit back and enjoy ourselves!”
But Paul says, “No, no. We don’t know when Jesus is coming again. It may be today. It may be thousands of years from now. So get busy and do your share of the work each day. Don’t be lazy. Don’t be bone idle.”
And Paul also says, “In toil and drudgery, night and day we worked, so as not to burden any of you.” Paul was a tent maker by trade and he worked with his hands as an example for them.

The Jewish people had a saying: “If parents do not teach their children a trade, they teach their children to steal.” If scholars and rabbis were afraid to get their hands dirty, then how could they give any practical advice for daily living? So Paul says, “If anyone is unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.”
Notice that Paul is not saying that people who are unable to work should not eat, or that people who want to work but cannot find a job should not eat. Rather, he is saying that those who are able but are unwilling to work should not expect to come to the table.
This passage is urging us to do our best work not only in the great things of life but also in the little things – maybe making something for dinner from scratch instead of relying upon “microwave magic.” Or maybe doing that chore or that homework with a little extra care. Paul urges us not only to do our work, but to do it well.

There is a story about a man who bought a house without ever having seen it. He was asked how he could be so trusting. His answer was: “I know the person who built it. And that builder puts his Christianity into his bricks and mortar.” The buyer knew the reputation of the builder, so he trusted that the house was well built.
God is the Creator, the Master Builder, “the Maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible” [Nicene Creed].
We have been blessed by God with so many talents and opportunities. Everything we have is a gift from God. As stewards of God’s bountiful blessings we show our gratitude by using and developing our gifts, and by sharing a portion of them generously with others. And so, I ask myself, “What return can I make to the Lord for all the good He has done for me?” [Psalm 116: 12].

There is a great hymn of the Church [#144 in our “Breaking Bread” hymnal] that provides an answer to that question. The hymn is entitled, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” and the first and fourth stanzas have us look at the cross and say:

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Were ev’ry realm of nature mine,
My gift would still be far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all!

Paul teaches us, “If anyone is unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.” We look at our lives and our work in light of all the good God has done for us. What return can we make to the Lord?

Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all!