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From the Pastor 08/06/17

I am taking this Pastor’s Column to update you on all the capital improvements we have accomplished during these past few weeks. Summer is the time to get a lot of work done on campus, and boy oh boy have we worked hard.

First, you may have noticed that we have done a lot of work to improve our landscaping. Many dead or dying trees and old worn out shrubs have been cut down. This is to make room for new trees and landscaping, and we hope to have this accomplished in the next few weeks. Grass has been put in the area near the back entrance as a temporary fix. There are plans to put in new landscaping and a retaining wall in this area but we do not have the funds to do it this summer, perhaps next summer.

Plans are underway to redo the landscaping around the Gym Entrance of the Parish Center and there will be opportunities to donate for dedications for this project. The gym entrance landscaping project is being headed by Reen Taylor and her garden helpers. Soon we will have information about this project. Also, as part of the overall campus beautification plan, the Knights of Columbus will be undertaking a project to revitalize the landscape in the area between the parking lot, the west entrance to the gym, and the door that leads down to the Knights of Columbus council hall. This project will have several features including a small “plaza” with benches, attractive landscaping, and a pro-life memorial that will serve as a visible reminder of the importance of praying for an end to abortion. The Knights are funding this project and will be actively involved in bringing it to reality. Work will begin on Saturday, August 12 and will continue primarily on Saturdays through September. For more information on becoming a member of the Knights of Columbus council here at St. Gertrude, please contact Tom Hahn at 831-2386.

Second, we are happy to announce the school now has a Permanent Atrium for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for both the school and Religious Education. As we are moving to implement the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Religious Education Program for grades P-K through the 4th Grade in both the school and Religious Education we saw a need for a permanent atrium. The entire Atrium Construction Project was donated by a generous anonymous school family.

Third, a few weeks ago we accomplished the resealing and stripping of the parking lot. This is done every three years to maintain our parking lot.

Fourth, we were able to build a permanent sound wall for the Adoration Chapel, and put new flooring in the St. Joseph Room and the Chapel as well. We hope this wall will provide much needed silence for adoration in the chapel. You will also notice that we put a hard surface flooring in the St. Joseph Room. We decided not to put rug flooring in these areas because we have had so many spills from food and drinks that it is impossible to keep the rug clean despite our attempts to clean the rug several times a year.

Fifth, we were able to build a new Holy Family Conference Room in the school. This conference room will be used for small meeting and especially for various employees who do not have work and meeting space.

Sixth, much work has been accomplished in the convent in anticipation of the sisters returning on Aug. 9th. New flooring has been put in the basement of the convent, and the painting of most of their living space. We were also able to remove the shed in their back yard that was falling apart. We were also informed last week that Sr. Mary Seaton will not be returning to St. Gertrude. Sr. Immaculata Marie will be teaching the 2nd Grade, and Sr. Mary Christine will be joining us to teach 5th Grade. Sister Mary Aquinas is returning to us for one more year of which were are so grateful. Please join me in welcoming Sr. Mary Christine to our parish community.

Seventh, improvements to the sacristy have also taken place. We installed new cabinets, a new sink, and painted.

Eighth, our fabulous parish library has a new facelift as well. We have been able to put more shelving in the library for more books and DVD’s. The library will be reopening this weekend so please come by to check out the improvements.

Ninth, you may notice the new shinny floors in the church. The floors are stripped down and refinished every summer so we are able to maintain the beauty of our environment.

Tenth, the installation of the new organ and construction of the choir loft and new flooring is complete. I hope many of you will be joining us for the blessing of the new organ on August 12. Please see the flyer in the bulletin about this great event which will include the blessing and placing of our relics in the new reliquary under the main altar of the church and a pot luck supper to wish our old novices goodbye. They will be making their simple profession on August 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the 11:30am Mass. I hope many will come to the Profession Mass as well.

Finally, please plan to join us for the 11:30am Conventual Mass this Tuesday, August 8 the Solemnity of Our Holy Father St. Dominic. Come and celebrate with the 24 old and new novices and the entire Dominican Community.

A blessed week to all,

Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P. Pastor