Hope my letter finds you well and safe during the Coronavirus pandemic crisis. This time provides a great opportunity to increase our prayers. Seems to me we can never have enough or say enough prayers. We all have our favorites which give us hope, strength and joy in our daily life.
I want to thank you for your continued financial support of our beloved Basilica, especially during the Covid-19 era.
We have been through three hurricanes. The worst one was Florence because it caused extensive damage to our campus. Additionally, it has been decades since our buildings were updated and renovated.
I have great news for you! An agreement with the insurance company was reached and the contract was signed with the builder and we will start the renovation very soon.
It has been a long hard two years with many obstacles to overcome. But with all passing difficulties and problems I was made much stronger and much more equipped to walk in my full purpose!
I can’t begin to tell you how much time, expertise and creativeness was required from The Building Committee (Fr. Ryszard, Laura Vinson, John Wojciechowski, Stephen Levesque, Robert Benazzi, Cyndy Howe and Ralph Maggio) who very diligently worked on restoration plans. Countless meetings and hard work of its members resolved with signing the contract with Harp Builders. The Building Committee vote was unanimous in favor of this company.
It was an honor for me to work with our Building Committee members and learn from them. They were fantastic! I am very grateful for everything they have done for our parish.
Mr. Val Cleary, owner of the Harp Builders has a lot of experience working on large construction projects and historic buildings. Some of his projects include: The Historic Cape Fear Apartments, Thalian Hall, New Hanover County Courthouse, and Shell Island Resort. Mr. Cleary’s reputation precedes him and I am happy to have him on board.
Three of our staff members contracted Covid – 19 and all staff members were quarantined on three different occasions. Fortunately they all recovered and are doing well. Unfortunately several of our parishioners died of the coronavirus and some were hospitalized.
Last summer I baptized or received over 20 adults into full communion with the Catholic Church.
Since September till the last weekend before Christmas our children were receiving their First Communion at every mass.
In October I confirmed over 60 teenagers whose sacrament was delayed because of the pandemic.
Since June countless children were baptized, many couples were married and we celebrated a good number of Quinceañeras.
Fr. Chesco celebrated his 40th anniversary of priestly ordination.
John Walsh was ordained a deacon.
Our office is open.
St. Mary School is open.
St. Mary Health Center is currently seeing established patients only. Sadly our orthopedic surgeon passed away (not Covid related).
The Outreach is partially open (by appointment only) offering curbside service.
The parishioners who form the group of St. Mary Missionaries have fed the homeless.
The Knights of Columbus organized Food and Blood Drives.
CCD classes are offered online.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place regularly.
We have safety guidelines in place for our liturgies. Please remember the three W’s (wash your hands, wear a mask, and watch your distance).
The BAA is underway. Please help the diocese.
As I informed you before, my messages to you are posted on our website and on social media. All my messages to you are archived (about 60 since last March) on the parish website under Pastor’s Corner.
Once again I thank you for your prayerful and financial support of our beloved Basilica Parish.
May the Lord bless you and your loved ones.