Sorry I missed writing last week but I was under water.  Literally. My husband and I came home from a weekend visiting our son at college to find three-and-a-half feet of water in our unfinished basement.

As homeowners’ calamities go, this one resolved itself relatively   easily.  The furnace and water heater were repairable and not a lot of important things were ruined.   (And really, those old purple couches needed to go). 

And while it was a tough week, my takeaway is that it was made so much easier by kindness.   It all started with my brother who slogged through the water to get one of the three (!) sump pumps going and then lined up a crew of dependable workers to help fix everything.  Sure, you could say that’s brotherly love—it is—but it was way above and beyond in my book.

Then there was the rental shop guy who couldn’t squeeze the      industrial-sized dehumidifier into our Prius.  He offered to deliver for free—and even carried it down to the basement.  Then there was the garbage man who just happened to be on our street on Tuesday (Garbage day is Monday in my neighborhood.).  He helped lug soggy rugs, cushions and who-knows-what to the truck.  Then there were the young men with strong backs (all St. Raymond School grads) who dragged stuff to the curb.  And finally, there were the wonderful        co-workers who dropped off Portillo’s knowing cooking was the last thing on my mind.

There were many lessons learned in this little ordeal.  “Always check the sump pump” and for heaven’s sake, “take the flood insurance” will be forever be in my mind.   But the lesson of kindness will always live in my heart.

Now we’re getting some place with our construction.  The last few weeks were spent protecting the Cathedral from potential construction damage and shoring up the portico roof with the largest set of monkey bars I’ve ever seen.  Once that was done, the workers began       removing the stone, one massive piece at a time.  The workers on the portico roof loosen the piece while another worker removes it using a lull or telehandler forklift.  This is a special lift that can handle the weight and safely deposit the pieces in the storage area.  All of the stone is being saved until we determine our final restoration plan.

The engineers were onsite this week and that always advances our work.  While overseeing the removal of the stone, they are also working to develop a strategy for the Bell Tower tuckpointing and doing a comprehensive structural analysis of the Cathedral.  We hope to have more details in the upcoming weeks. 

Good news: We have made a decision to improve the Cathedral sound system.  We are looking at taking on this project in stages and will begin with the transepts where it is particularly hard to understand

spoken word.   We expect to install new speakers in June (possibly before Matthew Kelly, but that’s a long shot.)  While we have a great deal going on, we thought that this improvement that impacts so many on a daily basis need to get done.

The Directory is coming!  The Directory is coming!  Last week we received the proof copy of our Centennial parish directory for our   review.  We are putting our best eagle-eyes on it and hope to return it to the printer this week. It’ll take 4-5 weeks for production once we approve the proof.  Thanks for your patience with this.  The delay is all on me, and I apologize for keeping you waiting.  (Though I do        appreciate whoever said “Well, at least we’ll look so much younger.”)

It’s not too late!  You still can submit your St. Raymond Story for the Centennial keepsake magazine.  The deadline is TOMORROW, so dig out your favorite photo and submit your story at  If you prefer, you can email it directly to me or drop it off at the rectory as well.

And finally, Happy Mother’s Day to all of my fellow moms.  It’s the toughest job in the world with the greatest rewards.  I’m hoping my “rewards” are making dinner.


Eileen Hooks Gutierrez

Director of Development and Project Liaison

815-722-6653, extension 242



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