of Parish Meeting
October 29, 2006
The following is a summary of the discussion held after the 9:30 Mass on Sunday, October 29th. There were approximately 50 parishioners present. There were at least 45 families represented. Although this was a good number of interested parishioners, it was a far cry from the total number in the parish. It was the general consensus of the group that the dissemination of information be done to the larger group. Hence, this summary. Please take the time to read it carefully. Then, please take the time to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your opinion is valuable to our parish. You do not have to give a lengthy commentary. A simple expression of support or non support is sufficient. You may be as lengthy as you want however.
Father Dumont opened the meeting with a few comments thus laying the ground for the remainder of the meeting and possible questions and concerns. Fr. began by stating that this meeting was a very preliminary one. It was not a meeting where any decisions would be made. The primary purpose of the reason was to inform the greater number of parishioners of the discussions that have been happening over the past year. The topic at hand was the possible expansion of the church building.
groups that have been active in discussion with regard of our church's
The Pastoral Council
The Finance Committee
All three committees and councils consist of parishioners. There have been no outside sources present at the meetings as of yet.
The Town of Candia has been visited by one of the members of the Expansion Committee and many questions have been answered.
The Diocese has been approached but only on a very preliminary basis.
Father explained that there is a strong possibility of expanding our church. We have examined every possibility. We have considered a new church ( this is not a financial option). We considered pushing in toward the rectory but found out that that part of the building is not structurally sound enough to support the existence of a large number of people. There is also the problem with rest rooms, the water pump, two levels of floors, two levels of roofmg etc. In short, pushing in would not only leave us with a bowling alley style of church but it would not save us any money. When all is said and done, we would probably be spending more money than if we knocked down a wall<>The present possible plan is to double the size of the church by pushing out one wall toward the CYAA. The present width of the church is 35'. This would bring our church to 70' or 80" long and 65' wide. Our present capacity is 170. We would be looking for a future capactiy of 320 to 350. We would situate the altar on the side of the CYAA and the main entrance would be facing the parking lot. Additional parking would need to be added. We presently sit on four acres of land so extra parking would not be a problem.
The reasons for considering an expansion were enumerated by Father Dumont and Normand Fraser who is the Chairperson of our Pastoral Council. The reasons given were
- the growth factor in the town of Candia and its surrounding neighbors, namely Deerfield, Raymond and Chester
- the lack of space at the Sunday Mass as well as on all special occasions such as Christmas, Easter, First Communions, large funerals etc.
- the difficulties resulting from a lack of space such as families sitting together, movement during services, place for music ministry groups, and most importantly, room for the possibility of attracting new parishioners. If anything, people come in and turn around and leave, possibly never to come back. It is impossible to survive if we cannot accommodate new families
Questions and Concerns
Once Father Dumont made it clear that he was not there to push an agenda or influence a decision one way or other, the floor was opened to questions and discussion. The following are some of the major concerns.
Q. Since this size of project is clearly an expensive one, how would the expansion be financed? Would we be depending on bake sales, car washes and raffles? Etc.
A. Raising money for a project of this size would need professional fund raising. We would have to do our homework before entering into such a project but financing with bake sales is not a viable source of funding.
Q. Is the growth of our towns sufficient to even consider expansion?
A. Basing ourselves on the figures of the State of NH, we know that the towns of Candia, Deerfield, Raymond and Chester are experiencing tremendous growth. The Rte.101 corridor is growing at every exit. The diocese has done its homework in this matter. They have found that at least 50% of all people moving into the areas mentioned above are Catholic and at least half of them are active members of their parish
Q. Is the parish financially sound enough to embark on such a project?
A. The chairperson of the Finance Committee responded to this question with an overwhelming affirmation. "Yes, absolutely!" Not only does he feel that our finance are sound but added that the history of this parish has proven to be generous in its response to building and improvement
Q. What is the chance of being shut down shortly after a major expansion?<>A. Fr. Dumont responded to this question by explaining that the bishop/diocese does not intend to close any of the parishes in the suburbs and areas where growth is happening. Rather, the churches that exist in the inner city will be closed because of a large number of church all within close proximity, one to another. Although we cannot predict the future, there is no plan to close our parish. That being said, Fr. will meet with the personal of the diocese to ensure that we do not enter into a major expansion project only to face closure in a few years.
Q. How may parishioners are there in St. Paul Parish?
A. There are a little over 400 families in the parish. Of course, only half are active church goers. We have many parishioners on the books but we rarely see many of them. We would probably be able to depend on about 200 families for support.
Q. How would the other parishioners be informed of the information given at this meeting?
A. After some discussion, it was suggested that a summary of the meeting be written up and passed out to all families attending the weekend Masses. This would not reach all registered families but it would certainly reach most active families. A later mailing could follow if we proceed with the project as proposed.
Father asked those present if they agreed to have him take the next
step which would be to speak to the real estate director at the
diocese. All in attendance agreed that we could take at least this