July 23, 2017

Hello my friends,

I’m sorry I have been absent from these pages for the last few weeks, but we had a little matter of attending to a party for 4,000  of our nearest and dearest.  It was so good to see so many of you enjoying the Homecoming Fest!  It truly was a labor of love for the            Homecoming Fest Committee and the Parish Staff.

Let’s catch up:  Construction first!

As I write this, the demolition stage of the front work on the Cathedral is complete.  If you look carefully, you can see that the massive concrete deck that forms the roof of the portico is jutting out from the Cathedral front and is being supported only by     scaffolding (albeit a lot of scaffolding).

Late last week, we began rebuilding the pillars.  The new pillars are engineered differently than the 1954 version.  The original pillars were granite—and the granite  provided the support.  There was no steel inside the    pillars—just brick.

The new version will support the roof with concrete and steel.  That’s the first work that will be done.  Once the  structural part is complete, the pillars will be clad in   limestone.  I’m excited about this improvement.  The    rendering looks great—and the $200,000 cost savings for using limestone instead of granite is certainly a plus.

Whereas the granite was   massive pieces  measuring 24 inches deep, the  limestone will be thinner.   The pieces will still be sturdy enough to last decades, but won’t add a tremendous amount of load to the pillars.

Our construction team meets every few weeks for updates and to address matters as they come along.  Last week, we picked the    correct limestone.  It will certainly look new, but the texture and tone matches the existing limestone on the Cathedral.  We also met with a lighting expert to talk about where fixtures and spotlights should go. 

It’s interesting work, and we have put good heads together. Besides Brian Ward, our general contractor and Kevin Kalata, our engineer/architect, we also have Pete Pluth, Chris Nye, Jim Eggen,  Fr. Brad and myself at the table.  Pete’s our Business Manager.  Chris is the Diocesan Director of Buildings and Properties—and an architect.  And Jim is a long-time member of our Building and Grounds Committee and an engineer.  It’s a very good team.

The biggest question we ask—and are asked—is “when will we be done?”  At this point, the most specific answer we can give is “fall.”  We need to get the rebuild underway and fine tune the schedule.

We do have some good news:

In June, our team of engineers from Wiss, Janey, Elstner Associates did a full structural examination of the Cathedral.  We asked them to do this to assure there were no significant structural issues—and there aren’t!

After a top to bottom  evaluation (which included opening up 10 inspection holes), the engineers  concluded that yes, there is ongoing maintenance that needs to be done, but no, none of it is catastrophic.   The engineers have provided us with a 67-page report to help us prioritize the necessary work that will be done in phases.

And finally, at long last, THE PARISH DIRECTORIES ARE HERE!  We will have them in the Commons on July 29-30 and August 5-6.  Simply stop in and grab your directory.  They are in alphabetical order. 

The directories are free to the 404 individuals and families who are pictured in the book.  If you aren’t in the book (camera shy?) but still want a directory, please call the rectory.  We have a limited overstock.

My family is heading to Maine for a vacation, so I won’t have a  column for the next few weeks, but I plan to be back at it in August.  I hope you are all having a restorative summer!

All the best,

Eileen Hooks Gutierrez
Director of Development and Projects Liaison
straysdevelopment@yahoo.com 815-722-6653, extension 242

P.S.  Our new speakers for the Cathedral transepts have been installed and should be operating this weekend.  Let us know what you think of the sound!



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