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Archives Parish: Campaign ‘was absolutely worth it’

December 16, 2020

By Mary Beth Bracy
Contributing Writer

WADDINGTON– “It was absolutely worth it,” said Tom Nelson, a member of the finance committee at St. Mary’s in Waddington. “A quarter of every dollar went to the diocese, and 75 cents back to the (parish) church. It gives you an incentive when you donate because you know that 75% of that is coming back to you.”

Nelson was referencing the “It’s Our Church, It’s Our Future” capital campaign, which has allowed his parish to make a number of improvements.

Nelson said the projects were prioritized after a committee “went through and made suggestions on what should be done. Of course, we are all pleased with the outcome.”

Msgr. Robert H. Aucoin, pastor of St. Mary’s in Waddington and St. John’s in Madrid, also spoke of how the capital campaign project helped his churches.

“We recarpeted the church, painted the outside of the church,” Msgr. Aucoin said of the project at St. Mary’s.

“It’s a stone church, so we painted the window frames. We have put a ceramic tile floor in the sanctuary of the church. For Faith Formation, we installed two large-screen televisions that have access to the internet [in the parish hall], and we use them for the way we teach these days.”

Roof and window repair work on the church was also completed. The parish plans to replace the sign in front of the church as well.

Before Msgr. Aucoin arrived, now Bishop Douglas J. Lucia made renovations and redecorated the church interior at St. John’s in Madrid with capital campaign funds.

“The sanctuary floor was restored, the hardwood,” Msgr. Aucoin said. “The entrance way was fixed up with floor tiling. They installed a new baptismal font.”

In Madrid, the impact of the capital campaign project “was very visible and people were very appreciative of the fact that the renovations were done,” Msgr. Aucoin said. “They were very generous to the campaign, and they were very pleased about renovations.” he said.

In Waddington “the work took place during the pandemic, so it hasn’t had that much exposure yet,” Msgr. Aucoin said. “There have been pictures on Facebook and things like that, but there really hasn’t been that much exposure. Those who have seen it, who are able to come to church, they are quite impressed with it.”

The project also includes lighting upgrades.

“We put in LED lighting and actually restored lighting, because there was some lighting that didn’t work,” Msgr. Aucoin said. “People have noticed that it’s much brighter than the church was before. There is a big difference there. They were very pleased with the work.”

The changes have improved the space, Nelson said.

“It has made quite a difference in the looks of the church,” he said. “To me it’s more inviting, it just seems like it’s – I don’t want to use the word cozier, but I can’t think of another word for that. We did put new carpeting and new flooring in the entrance of the Church, on the floor near the altar, and added a new lectern. The carpeting that was in there was drab and had been there since the 1950s.”

There are still a few more upgrades are on the way, thanks to the capital campaign.

“We are also going to get for both churches, with Campaign money, new permanent hymnals/missalettes,” Msgr. Aucoin said. “In other words, we are going to replace missalettes with permanent hymnals with readings.”

The Madrid/Waddington pastor said the parishes are also going to “beef up our faith formation programs in the parishes. With the campaign income we will have the money to do that.”

“We are using the parish hall more now,” both for social distancing and convenience, Nelson said. “It is more accessible to view DVDs and have class. The confirmation class is using one of the TVs. It makes it so much easier to learn, so that you can see what’s going on and not just listen or read.”

“People believe that the capital campaign was needed, and they have seen the results of what their donations have brought and so, from that point of view, it was very helpful,” Msgr. Aucoin concluded. “For the church, the parishes in general, it wasn’t just money that was put into the general fund. It was money that was put to good use to spruce up the parish.”

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