With the horror of the fire at Notre Dame last week, I have been on pins and needles waiting for this day. I have been waiting for the ball to drop, to enable us to Go Live for the oh so important and historically relevant renovation of Holy Rosary Church.
Did you know that Holy Rosary was first built by the townsfolk? The people of Tacoma (think 1890) bought the land, built the church AND the school, and only then asked the Catholic Church for a priest.
Now we’re doing it backwards. We are asking the people to fix the church and for the Archdiocese of Seattle to allow it. Maybe it’s not backwards after all.
I pray that you have it in you to read this post with an open mind, to feel my plea to save a feat of architectural brilliance. It is literally a teaching moment in the field of architecture. (I’m looking at you UW Tacoma, Saint Martin’s, PLU, UPS, Concordia University).
This one is different from the pitches you hear every day. This one is in your backyard.
Many of you already know the story of deferred maintenance, damage from weather and the aging building that is today’s headline. The parish and the church as well suffered the tragedy of losing their beloved priest to a medical emergency, and the continued subsequent struggle to replace his fervent leadership.
The drop in parishioners, due to loss of leadership, was redoubled by the church closing it’s doors for safety issues, in November 2018.
Perhaps this is God’s call to action. The Church cannot be a Church of God without it’s people. And the people, with no place to gather are just people, running about willy nilly. I’m just talking now, but if the people show no interest………
For those of you that are not Catholic or particularly religious, please heed my plea for this monument of Tacoma’s history, the irreplaceable stained glass (which I understand is valued over $2m, a fact that is neither here nor there), the copper steeple, the incredible feeling of just walking into this church. I really want you to be able to do so.
I know that you have seen the ever present view of the copper steeple, towering above the Tacoma Dome as you drive I-5, or maybe you have felt that sick, afraid of heights feeling in the pit of your stomach as you drive right straight into the church on Tacoma Avenue.
Tacoma has so few pieces of history left.
Everyone and everything falls on hard times folks.
Now that I have your attention, we can get down to brass tacks.
After two months of planning, meeting and plenty of hard work by Holy Rosary parishioners, alumni and members of the faithful (including myself) who adore this Neo-Gothic style church, we are launching initial fundraising for the repair and restoration of Holy Rosary Church, under the Washington State Registered and Licensed Charity, “Save Tacoma’s Landmark Church”.
Make no mistake, we are prepared to see this through. Today I ask for seed money.
I admit that it has taken longer than anticipated to set up, but legitimacy is important (as is that tax deduction).
I am writing today to ask for your help. OK, let’s be real. We are finally ready for your help.
What you do not know is that there are countless numbers of believers and supporters that have gathered in the name of the Catholic Faithful, or maybe some of them are in the name of Thursday…… those are the community members that believe in preserving the architectural beauty of Holy Rosary for generations to come.
A bunch of them are doing it. I’m surprised you aren’t involved yet. It’s actually pretty exciting, and the with the exception of the sometimes “closing prayer”, it’s not even that churchy.
2020 will be 100 year anniversary of Holy Rosary Church as it stands today. It would be incredible to see it restored to it’s full glory in time for that milestone.
We have been in contact with both Holy Rosary Parish clergy and the Archdiocese of Seattle, who understand our mission and have agreed that they would work in cooperation with our group. We have established a separate fundraising platform and campaign, even an IRS c-3 corporation, to ensure that all funds go to the restoration of the church.
While the Archdiocese has still not finished obtaining all of the requisite bids and analyses for restoration (a task they are in the process of completing), they have let us know that this news is forthcoming. We know that the results and Archdiocese decision on restoration will be released to the Parish as a whole at the end of the month of May.
When that news comes, we would like to be prepared to start paying invoices for restoration and repairs to begin directly and immediately. THIS IS MY APPEAL TODAY! Help us raise an amount that enables us to be a voice!
If that is enough reading for you, I invite you to donate to the cause now.
Save Tacoma’s Landmark Church Donation Page
As always, any links herein will open in a new window, that way you don’t lose this blog post.
We have a massive task ahead of us. We have a goal of raising $10 Million Dollars, easily reachable with 10, $1,000,000 donations. But 10 Million $1 donations will work just as well, or 2 Million $5 donations. You get where I’m going with this right? You are important, and you can be a part of this meaningful undertaking.
I’m sure you have a plethora of questions, I’m going to take a stab at them here via FAQ-
IS MY DONATION TAX DEDUCTIBLE?
Our 501c3 application has been filed with the IRS. All donations will be 100% deductible retroactively to July 2018 per Federal Law on charitable foundations.
Otherwise, we are already an accepted and licensed Charity and Non-Profit in the State of Washington.
What exactly will my donation be used for?
90% of the funds received via donation will go directly toward paying invoices for the repair and restoration of Holy Rosary Church. 10% of the funds will be donated to the Holy Rosary Parish General Fund to do our part in helping meet operational expenses. While our primary goal is saving and restoring the building, we also support the Parish Community.
Is it safe to donate via the web?
The donation page on the site is secured. Rest assured that your information will not be exposed. We are working with a fundraising organization that is reputable and committed to charitable foundations.
Is there a website where I can get more information about the group “Save Tacoma’s Landmark Church?”
Here you will see the history of the group, the history of the church building and minutes from every single meeting we have had. We are nothing if we are not transparent.
I don’t have any funds to donate at this time, is there something else I can do?
Tell your friends, share the fundraising link (or this blog), attend mass at Holy Rosary, there is faith in numbers. Since the church building has been closed for safety reasons, mass has been being held in the School Auditorium. As you can imagine, numbers are down. The Archdiocese needs to see that people are willing to attend mass if the prospect of fixing and re-occupying the church exists. Try the 12 Noon Mass on Sunday!
We will also be holding some fundraisers in the future that will allow us to work directly with the public, think large scale mailings, walk-a-thons, motorcycle rides, auctions….. etc. We will need volunteers in smiley multitudes.
WHAT IF THE ARCHDIOCESE DOES NOT APPROVE RESTORATION OF HOLY ROSARY CHURCH?
While this possibility exists, we feel the chances approval will not be granted is slim. If this happens, we will refund 90% of any donation over $1,000 directly to the donor(s) via our fundraising mechanism. The remainder of any funds gathered will be given to the Holy Rosary Parish Maintenance Fund, to be used only in repair and maintenance of the buildings and grounds.
Then again, if the Seattle Archdiocese wants to put Holy Rosary Church up for sale, how about we buy it? We will need a down payment. And trust me now, if they want to sell it, it will be THE place to worship, inside of 2 years. It is too beautiful to put this much effort into and not make it family and community friendly and fun!
If the analysis is not complete, why are you gathering donations already?
As soon as the analyses are complete (there are multiple and maybe complicated), work can begin. We would like to be ready to facilitate the direct payment of invoices. Preliminary analysis puts the cost at between $7.5 and $10 Million. We would like renovations to begin immediately, we will need the seed money to get the companies that are gearing up to get started, or to make a down payment on the loan for the property.
The sooner the church can be stabilized, the sooner the parishioners and public will be able to worship in the church itself. With any luck, we can make that happen quickly and while work is ongoing. We believe that the best action is immediate action. While some say that the building is not what is important, we believe that saving the building is tantamount to saving the Parish as well.This is baseball terminology not theology, but it applies here too. “Build it and they will come”. In this case of course, it is “Fix it, and they will come.”
Have you ever been inside Holy Rosary Church? It is a sight to behold. If you can help us in our cause, you will get that chance.
My childhood, my young adulthood and my faith reside in this holy place. I am super dedicated. If I have to earn $10M by myself, I will.
I promised to save Holy Rosary Church and with your help, I really believe we can do it.
Your support is welcomed, needed and genuinely appreciated. Thank you for your time.
Other links that may interest you in regard to Holy Rosary Church:
If you have other questions, please feel free to post them in the comments section. I will do my best to answer them directly.