As many of you know, St. Katherine Drexel Mission has been working diligently towards the goal of building a permanent home for our Catholic community since early 2014, when the Building Committee was formed. Our progress thus far is the direct result of the financial sacrifices many of you have made plus your prayers and support. Since these efforts started, we have made amazing progress – both on the building project and towards becoming an active parish where we gather to worship God in fellowship as we share our Catholic faith.
To build a thriving parish, we need not only a physical building but also a strong sense of belonging and community. Father Murphy, the members of the Building Committee, and I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with a brief update, let you know what we’ve done this past year, and the exciting things planned for 2018.
Funding, Budget and Schedule
- Our project is estimated to cost $8M, which includes the church building, sitework, and furnishings.
- The Diocese of Arlington purchased the land, a 28 acre parcel at US Route 15 and Route 234, and closed the deal in December 2015. We are very thankful for the tremendous support we have received from the Diocese.
- To initiate construction, we need approximately $4M in cash and pledges. The $4M balance can be financed through a Diocesan loan (similar to a mortgage). To date, we have approximately $1.6M in cash and pledges; we need to raise another $2.4M.
- The Special Use Permit issued by Prince William County in November 2015 requires us to complete site planning by November 2018 and complete the project (i.e., fully move in) by November 2023 at the latest – hopefully much sooner.
- We anticipate the construction schedule to take 24-36 months in total, depending on sequencing, funding, and other factors. We anticipate sitework could take 12-18 months to complete and building construction could take 18-24 months.
- If funding permits, we can begin sitework in late 2018/early 2019, concurrent with building design. Building construction would follow thereafter in the 2020/2021 timeframe.
- This gives us about 2-3 years to raise the rest of the money. The sooner we raise the money, the sooner the project gets done. It’s that simple.
2017 was a very productive year. Although you did not see physical progress (excluding the new, larger sign erected in early December), many enabling activities occurred in the background which are essential for project success. As with any large project (and this is a large, complicated project), it is not simple and it takes time, patience, money and some luck.
- Conceptual Design Completed
Conceptual Design was initiated in 2016 and completed in early 2017. The conceptual design further defined the general arrangement and overall look and feel of the small to medium church (“Phase I” of our overall project). The renderings were displayed at Mass in January/February 2017.Conceptual design enabled us to more closely match our requirements, preferences, and configuration of the church with our budget. Based on the conceptual design and our estimated budget of $8M (sitework and building construction), we made some adjustments to the scope (mainly in finishes and support spaces) to make our goal of building a church affordable and achievable.
- Site Planning and Design Efforts Underway
The contract for site planning and design efforts was placed (through the Diocese) with the Civil Engineering firm of Ross-France-Ratliff in late September. A detailed survey of the plot was completed in November 2017 and based on the survey, site design (utilities, septic, water, parking, entrances, exits, landscaping, etc.) started in late November and are continuing now.Site Design entails developing additional details of the building so it can be integrated with the Site Plan and conform to the Prince William County Special Use Permit requirements.Site planning is complicated – there are many county, state, federal, and other regulations to follow – along with numerous and lengthy regulatory reviews. The federal reviews are a result of the presence of wetlands on our site, an “intermittent stream,” which the US Army Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction over.Site planning process will be complete in August/September 2018. Prince William County will then issue a permit enabling us to start sitework, if we choose. The Special Use Permit requires us to be complete with site planning by November 2018, so we anticipate being ahead of schedule. The decision to start sitework is dependent on fundraising progress. After site planning is complete, we can then move onto more detailed building planning.
- New Sign Erected
Alan Walker spearheaded development and installation of a new, much more prominent sign on the site alongside Route 15, and relocated the existing sign to the Waterfall Road side of the site. He received a lot of help erecting the sign in early December from his fellow parishioners pictured along with Alan in the photo. Many thanks to Alan and his colleagues! (Pictured below: SKD Sign-Raisers (L-R): Jim Etro, Martin Fisher, Dennis Corrigan, Tony Bocchichio, Alan Walker. Not pictured: Pat Lorzing (photographer) and John Stirrup (who was working furiously away in the background…).
- Fundraising Continued
Our fundraising efforts continued apace. Many parishioners are fulfilling their capital campaign pledges and building fund contributions at a good clip.
- Social Activities and Mardi Gras Gala
We held our first Mardi Gras Gala in February 2017 at Evergreen Country Club and it was a huge success. Casey Parker led the effort and the Gala raised $30K! Better yet, it was a lot of fun. We hope you join us on February 10, 2018 for the next one!
- Knights of Columbus Council and Legion of Mary Formed
Coincident with the Building Committee’s efforts, the Fr. Jon O’Brien Knights of Columbus Council was formed. Bill Bartheld initiated the effort and was ably assisted by Pat Lorzing, and many others. Along with the Knights, a Legion of Mary Chapter was formed in late 2017 led by Jackie Lorzing and other parishioners.The Knights and Legion of Mary help provide an essential framework for the parish to form stronger bonds, promote socialization, and perform good works in keeping with our Catholic mission.
Plans for 2018
In 2018 we plan to significantly increase our communications, fundraising efforts, and outreach activity. To that end, we will do the following:
- More activity and communication from the Building Committee
As our efforts and the project have matured, the Building Committee has established several formal subcommittees to better pursue our cause. These subcommittees include: Fundraising, Communications, Social Activities, Design and Construction, and a Knights of Columbus Liaison.You’ll be hearing from each of the Subcommittee Chairmen/Chairwomen in the coming weeks on their goals and efforts to seek your support.You’ll also be seeing more communication on a regular basis on our project and fundraising status.
Fundraising is our biggest challenge. We need money to make this project a reality and it will only happen with funding. It is likely those of you who are here already have given. Our challenge is to reach those who have not given yet or who are new to the parish. Only about 40% of the parish is actively contributing. Anything more than $0 counts! We need to improve our participation rate significantly and are confident we will. Although this project may not have all the funds we need now, it will get built, even if it does take a bit longer than we wanted. So be patient, give what you can, and pray for God’s guidance.
Join our Fundraising Team!
To help this effort, we are developing a fun and innovative approach to fundraising – which relies on your support and participation in a number of ways. On January 20th (Saturday) from 1:00-2:00 PM, we are holding an organizational meeting at the Mission Office. Please contact Ellen at the SKD Mission Office at (703) 754-8444 or via email to RSVP.
- Site Plan, Permit and Church Design
We hope to receive our site plan permit in the fall of 2018. This will allow us, funding dependent, to bid the sitework and potentially start sitework in 2019.Along with the site plan permit, we will evaluate when and how to start church design and develop a more detailed project schedule.
- Social Activities
Following on the success of last year, the Mardi Gras Gala is planned for Saturday, February 10, 2018 (Saturday) at Piedmont Golf Club. See the Mardi Gras page to purchase your tickets.And based on the great success of the Knights of Columbus Fall Festival in October 2016, the Knights are planning more fun social activities for 2018. Keep your eyes peeled for updates!
Thanks for all your support and prayers. Wishing you a blessed New Year!
Chairman, Building Committee
P.S. – If you would like to contribute to the Building Fund, please visit our FaithDirect page to setup a single or on-going contribution. Thanks for your support!