Here are the most frequently asked questions regarding Finances that were raised at the parish-wide LRP presentations. All the questions are listed first, then the questions with answers follow.
- Why and how did the parish enter into agreements with the Sisters for the St. Joseph convent and Chesterton Academy for the St. Joseph School Building?
- How much money was lost when Agamim left
the St. John school building in mid-lease?
- What is happening with the parish’s
- What happened with the sale of land on
the St. Joseph campus?
- What is the current financial status of
St Gabriel’s parish?
- Couldn’t the parish just re-lease the St.
John campus school building in order to stay on two campuses?
is the parish facing this financial issue now?
how will moving to the St. Joseph Campus improve the parish’s financial
- What will happen to the proceeds from the
sale of the St. John’s campus?
- How can parishioners be made aware earlier of the financial problems of the parish?
- Can the parish sell off portions of the St. John’s campus?
1. Why and how did the parish enter into agreements with the Sisters for the St. Joseph convent and Chesterton Academy for the St. Joseph School Building?
Both decisions had several
components, both financial and ministry-based.
The convent was in a critical state of disrepair, and the parish’s options were to repair it or to demolish it. Demolition alone would have cost at least $400,000-$500,000 (almost as much as renovation) due to factors such as asbestos abatement, and it would also have required reconfiguring the entire campus’s heating system at great expense (the boilers for the entire campus are located in the basement of the convent). Of course, this would have also eliminated any possibility of repurposing/using the convent. Another important factor was that when the opportunity to host the Handmaids came up, it was discerned by parish leadership (parish council, finance council, business administrator and pastor) that the value of having Sisters at our parish justified the investment. At that time, our financial situation seemed much better due to the revenue from renting the St. John campus school to Agamim. (See question 2 for more information).
Likewise, when School for the Arts left the St. Joseph campus school, the parish could have re-leased the building to another charter school and continued its dependence on outside income to fund parish operations. However, the decision was made in both cases to pursue ministry partners that would not only use the vacant spaces but would also add value to the ministry outreach of St Gabriel’s parish. The opportunity cost to the parish in terms of increased dollars theoretically available from other potential tenants was counterbalanced by the opportunity to partner with Chesterton Academy. Likewise, the partnership with the Sisters was formed to increase the Catholic ministry bandwidth in our area. Indeed, both groups are already helping to attract new families and strengthen our ministries while reducing our dependence on lease income to fund operations.
It should be noted that about 27% of the renovation costs for the convent are being offset by contributions from Holy Family Catholic Church, which also benefits from the Sisters’ presence in their parish. These contributions are being received in $50,000 installments over 5 years; we received the first installment in June 2021. Thus, taking into account what demolition was likely to cost (not including reconfiguring the heating system!), as well as the contributions we are receiving from Holy Family, the convent renovations represent an investment of $150,000 - $260,000 beyond what we would have had to spend in any case.