Monday, June 26, 2017

Fr. Chuck's Column, June 25, 2017

First of all, Happy Birthday to St John the Baptist, which was Saturday, June 24. This also means that it is only six months to CHRISTMAS! This year Christmas falls on a Monday, which creates a mess with the Fourth Sunday of Advent on December 24, and then celebrating Christmas on December 24/25. We also will have continuing construction on our church which will also complicate things. But we will get through it. 
And while we are talking about dates, Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day are the same day next year, February 14, 2018. Ashes and chocolates? It will be interesting!
Changing topics to construction, our renovation is going pretty much according to plan. The schedule calls for the renovation project to be complete next February, which really means March-April. I am hoping we can have a re-dedication and blessing of all the new work next spring, maybe around the feast of our patron, St. Augustine.
As you have probably noticed the door to the back side of the church is in very bad shape. A new door is being made for that entrance that will look much more like a church door. So if you can be patient and put up with the old dilapidated door for a few more months, it will all be fine.
Meanwhile, the life of the parish moves on. Our garage has finally begun to make a profit, which is really good because, as with any business, it needs constant upkeep and maintenance. The bid on the repair of the elevators to keep them functioning properly is about $30,000. Also the money taking machine/gates are well past their life expectancy and need replacement. The bid on that is nearly $100,000, so we are trying to find alternate bids. 
The developer of the Marriott hotel on the current McDonald’s site is taking longer than what we were originally told. We had expected that they would begin excavation on the site in May and that much of the excavation would happen during the summer when school is closed. Obviously, that did not happen.  We are still negotiating with the licensing agreements about a tree that is half on our property and half on theirs, tieback rods that would extend into our property, cranes swinging over our property, insuring against any damage to our buildings, etc. As far as we can tell, the City of Austin has not yet issued them a full building permit. So that project is going to take a lot longer than originally envisioned. Meanwhile, you can still get your McDonald’s.
This past Monday, the committee heading up the exploration of the development of our properties had a very positive meeting with representatives of the Diocese of Austin. They were positive in their reaction and grateful for our update. Investigation will continue over the summer, and hopefully we will be able to make some decisions next Fall about going forward or not.

There is always much going on at St. Austin. We should never be bored!  

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