Sunday, May 18, 2008

Jealousy

I get jealous when I see scaffolding around other people's Churches. Over the last eight years I have paid off our debts and we actually have £30,000 in the bank. The most that there has been ever. When I go into the Church to pray I am distracted by the lino that needs tacking down to stop accidents and wonder how much longer it is going to have to last. The altar needs raising, no one sees it if there are four fat ladies in the front pew. The lighting that was put in 20 years ago, as a temporary measure, its predecessor having been condemned, needs replacing. The paint work is peeling off the walls, everything including carved stone, was painted in 1970 in grey paint, the sort of acrylic stuff you find in public lavatories. The sanctuary carpet has holes in it, the radiators are rusting, the stained glass needs restoration, the mullions of the west window need serious work.
Fr Sean posted this video, now, I am not sure if I am jealous, or if this conspicuous and vulgar overspending.
If anyone has an odd £125,000 or $250,000, or more, cheques can be made out to "St Mary Magdalen (restoration fund)".

18 comments:

Et Expecto said...

Father, you will have to do some fundraising. It is not as difficult as you may think; other parishes have raised £250,0000 and more without too much difficulty.

You really have to think on the scale of the people who built the church in the first place.

Paul Waddington.

pelerin said...

wow - that was quite something. Surely it is not overspending when it is done for the glory of God? Presumably someone has willed the money necessary for this purpose?

I see clerical headgear surfacing again with the hard hat on top of the nun's veil - elf 'n safety there too!

Interested to see that there will be an icon there of St Jean-Marie Vianney. Having spent a few days in his village last year it does seem extraordinary that this holy priest who spent his life in such an out of the way place should have become known and loved throughout the whole world.

As patron saint of parish priests perhaps the Cure of Ars should be invoked for the repairs needed in St Mary Magdalen's?

Sidney said...

Say many novens and masses in honor of St Joseph! He will help to restore your church!

gemoftheocean said...

well, prioritize: If it was me I'd try to fix the things that not doing could get you sued then you won't have money to do zip. I.E. holes in the carpet that sort of thing. Never underestimate Joe Blow's ability to trip over something like that and break his leg.

#2 the physical plant. We had one priest who didn't do decent maintenence for 17 YEARS and the poor priest who came in afterwards had a large portion of his time spent catching up with both the physical church plant and the badly needed fixes to the rectory. So after fixing things people could bust their butts on I'd go for the radiators, and fixing the windows .. those things left unattended will cause other problems to happen. [Like the peeling paint is probably has something to do with the windows not being sealed properly etc. After that go for the paint job and the sanctuary fixes. It's tempting to do the latter first.

Nick said...

For the time being may I suggest you ask the four fat ladies to sit at the rear of the church?

ffn said...

if u do not ask u will not get

John said...

Well Father, strange how things work out. Yesterday (Sunday) at Mass we had to watch a video from the Archbishop. He is appealing for the final $3 million to pay for the restoration of our Cathedral here in Perth, Western Australia. The total cost is estimated to be $25 million but $22 million has already been raised but it's the last bit which is still needed. It should be completed by May of next year. At the moment, what was the nave of the Cathedral is a hole in the ground and it will contain several rooms and underground car-parking with the new nave being built on top.
I had to chuckle when the good Sister said, referring to the stars which would have been there when Our Lady appeared "If you tell the Astrologers the date and the time, then they will tell you just what the sky looked like"....She did say "Astrologers"!
JARay

Joseph Fromm said...

Dear Fr. Ray,
I have been a memeber of one of those grand old parishes before and after a multi-million dollar restoration. I would gladly trade a well appointed parish for a sound and normative liturgy.

JMJ

Joe

gemoftheocean said...

JARay...I did a double take too. IT sounded more like "astrologers" than "astronomers." I'm sure she meant the latter!

V said...

I got an email from Anne Rice today (U.S. vampire author converted to Catholicism, has published a new book about the Child Jesus). I had asked her if she could spare a few pennies for our church restoration project. I figured Ms Rice, as a mother who lost a child to leukeumia, might want to 'give birth' in other ways. She politely said no, but at least she took the time to reply and she might tell her friends...

My point is celebrity funding. If anyone's got that sort of cash to spare it's the rich & famous.

Could we start a celebrity appeal campaign? If everyone wrote just one e-mail appeal, that's got to raise the odds! British Catholic celebrities might be more responsive, or those with some connection to Brighton or St Mary Magdalen. Who are they? I've been Googling but can't find any. I'll have to start reading 'Hello' magazine as a penance...

I might try Mel Gibson now! Or Jim Caviezel, the guy who played Jesus in 'The Passion of the Christ'...

gemoftheocean said...

"V" that nice when it happens but really better in the long run if everyone chips in. Sure you can be lucky and sell that $5000 dollar glass of lemonade but you're more likely to "get 'er done" ifa lot of people chip in a little each and with various fundraisers.

Gladiatrix said...

Father

Is there some reason why you haven't applied for grants? Get hold of your local reference library's copy of the Directory of Grant Making Bodies and start writing letters.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Gladiatrix,
There aren't that many grants for Grade 2, 19th Century Catholic Churches.
Any suggestions?

V said...

Gem
Want to organise a fundraiser for us? It would be great if a lot of people chipped in with a little, or a few people chipped in with a lot. We can start right here!

Gladiatrix said...

Dear Father Blake

The obvious first port of call is your local authority, after the HM Dept. of Culture, the EU Commission, the Heritage Lottery Fund. Does the Catholic Church have an equivalent of the Church Commissioners in the C of E? If yes, you should approach them.

The other thing you could try is sweet-talking your local tradesmen to see if they might let you have some items for free or at cost or even do some work for free, or asking if your local radio station/newspaper would broadcast/publish an interview where you ask for contributions in cash or in kind.

As your church is 19th Century, you should contact the Victorian Society (if you haven't already done so) and ask for their assistance in fund-raising. Otherwise, as I said get hold of a copy of the Directory.

Probably a daft question, but have you tried writing to the letters pages of the Catholic Herald and The Tablet? You could try that and see if you get any response.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Gladiatrix,
We tried those.

Gladiatrix said...

Oh dear, I really do think the Directory is your best bet. It is a huge great tome, and lists every grant-making body in the country. By which I don't just mean quangos and so forth, but private foundations too.

In the alternative, have you tried gently pointing out to HM DCMS and the Heritage Lottery Fund, etc, that refusing to provide a grant to a church is probably against the anti-discrimination regulations issued by HMG?

berenike said...

meep. meep. nice. meep.

And my current diocese is building this.

At vast expense. Isn't it foul? The first design they accepted wasn't very church-like, but it could always have been jiggled about inside, and it was beautiful in itself, in a sci-fi fantasy novel cover sort of way..