Our “Building to Serve” Project History
Anticipation, growth, changes, and new developments all describe the exciting happenings here at St. Dominic Parish. After hours of parish input, a building being razed and a big hole dug, what once seemed like an enormous undertaking is continuing to take shape - one which will provide a new opportunity of spiritual renewal for our parishioners, as well as enhancement our Delhi Township Community.
Our Parish continues to see the efforts of our "Building to Serve" project realized, as construction of the Parish Center and Gathering Space, a journey that began seven years ago, comes closer and closer to completion. Much time, planning, listening, and talent have been applied to aid our Parish in achieving its goal to provide facilities that serve the many ministries of our growing faith community.
Under the guidance of pastors Father Jim Collins, Bishop John Kaising and Father Jim Walsh, we have reaffirmed our mission to address the spiritual needs of our members. In 1997, Fr. Jim (Collins) organized discussion groups to assess the future needs of St. Dominic. In 1999, Bishop Kaising and the newly formed Pastoral Council began "Planning Our Future Ministry Together." This process began with formal listening sessions through focus groups involving input from over 350 parishioners. The initial effort was further enhanced through focus groups that were held in parishioners' homes. In May, 2000, the parish, through our Pastoral Council, received the results of our parishioners' input. The key focus areas and defined goals included:
- Ministerial Needs and Pastoral Staff - To meet the ministerial needs of our Parish in the areas of Adult Education and Formation; Spirituality; Senior Ministry; Teen and Young Adult Ministry and Outreach; by recruiting and hiring people for a Pastoral Associate, Youth Minister and/or Director of Religious Education, as program development and funds allow.
- Facilities - To provide sufficient space to carry out our Parish's existing and developing programs and ministries, by assessing the current and future needs for the space within the parish complex, develop a master facility plan and implement the master plan. Specifically the findings of the focus group and listening sessions identified the following critical space needs for the parish. In priority order they are:
1. A multi-purpose facility to serve the meeting and office space needs of the parish.
2. A gathering space for parishioners to utilize before and after masses.
3. A practice gymnasium to meet the demand of the expanded youth athletic program, which has and continues to rent space from external organizations.
Fr. Walsh implemented these ministerial recommendations by adding or expanding what have now become over 100 ministries. Ministries that we added include: New Parishioner Welcoming; Adult Faith Formation, including Christ Renews His Parish and Parish Wide Sacramental Preparation and the youth ministry program, Teen Odyssey. Ministries that were expanded include: Bereavement; Rite for Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA); Baptismal Sacramental Preparation for Parents.
As ministries and staff were enhanced, Fr. Walsh and Parish Leaders realized that an evaluation of the space within the parish was necessary. A steering committee was formed at Fr. Jim's request by parishioner Harry Groen to study the options and to develop a "master plan" to address the space needs of our parish organizations. The established goal was to provide a dedicated location to for members of our Parish Community to meet, learn, worship and socialize, as well as provide additional athletic facilities.
In September of 2002, a feasibility study was conducted by a local consulting firm to assess the acceptability of the "master plan" and to gauge the financial support within the St. Dominic Parish Community. Fr. Jim and Harry presented the plan to Parish organizations in November of 2002.
The financial feasibility study indicated a need for change to the initial priority of the "master plan." Upon review, it was discovered that the cost of the Gathering Space, due to the need to build walls, roofs and other structures to connect the Church and the Parish Center that would later be torn down to construct the Gathering Space, would increase the cost by $150,000 or more, if the Gathering Space were not built in conjunction with the Parish Center, . Therefore, recommendations from the "Building to Serve" Steering Committee and Finance Council were made to add the Gathering Space to Phase I of the project. Fr. Jim, although hesitant, due to previous assertions that the Parish would remain debt free, decided that it was in the best interest of the Parish's future to include it in Phase I.
A town hall meeting was held in March of 2003 with all parishioners invited to attend. Building plans were presented and projected costs were discussed. Parishioners were then contacted through a mailing campaign or by personal phone calls requesting their spiritual and financial support. From this first fund raising effort, the direction and priorities identified in previous endeavors has remained consistent; Phase I - A Parish Center and A Gathering Space and Phase II - A Practice Gymnasium.
With over $1.2 million pledged, a groundbreaking ceremony was held on June 27, 2004 for the construction of the meeting and gathering spaces.
Our parish journey continues today, August 30, 2005, with pledges totaling over $1,420,000. Donations exceeding $1,200,000 have been received from more than 915 Parish Families and Friends. The dedication of our parish community toward this effort has been extremely positive. We have many new and exciting changes in our future with endless possibilities ahead.
The foundation of the "Building to Serve" campaign has been laid. We continue to pursue the resources necessary to bring it to fruition. We are within reach of achieving our Phase I goals and we hope to initiate Phase II once our initial facilities are completed. We hope that all parishioners and community business leaders will, with prayerful consideration strengthen the framework of the future of our parish and the Delhi Community through their continued commitment of service toward this effort.