Architects have drawn up plans for building additions and improvements at Holy Rosary Parish in Guelph. Here, from left, are parishioners Maria Gazzola and Barbara Smith and Fr. Vernon Boyd, S.J., pastor of Holy Rosary.

Guelph parish sees campaign as ‘great opportunity’

  • May 11, 2019

After two years of study and preparation, Holy Rosary Parish in Guelph is taking the next step toward its goal of breathing new life into its buildings.

That step is the Diocese of Hamilton’s One Heart, One Soul Campaign, and as part of the campaign’s pilot wave, Holy Rosary kicked off the active phase of its fundraising effort in April.

Every parish in the diocese will participate in the $35-million campaign over the next two years and Holy Rosary is one of 14 parishes participating in the pilot wave. More than 85 per cent of the funds raised in the campaign will benefit parishes and the projects of their choosing. A few shared ministries in the diocese also will benefit.

“It’s a great opportunity for the parish and the diocese to work in collaboration, helping to serve to build up the faith, to build up the church,” said Fr. Vernon Boyd, S.J., pastor of Holy Rosary. The campaign will help parishes through projects such as the reinvigoration of Holy Rosary’s parish hall, Fr. Boyd said, while raising awareness of the needs of diocesan-led ministries such as campus ministry.

Holy Rosary’s two-year planning process has included a number of committees meeting to study the structural needs of parish buildings and prioritize those needs. It has resulted in a plan to tackle more than $2 million of building improvements at the parish.

The parish hall hasn’t changed much since it was built — even before the church — about 60 years ago, Fr. Boyd said.

The hall will benefit from substantial repairs “to cheer it up and make it a better place to serve people,” he said, and “the kitchen is in great need of a complete renovation.”

The church was renovated in 2011-12 and since then the hope has been to improve the hall, said Maria Gazzola, who serves on a number of councils at Holy Rosary.

To do something with the hall “has always been in the background,” Gazzola said, “so this is the perfect opportunity.”

“I see how much parishioners appreciate what was done” through the church renovations, she said, and that encourages her about what this second phase of improvements could mean to them and the parish.

Barbara Smith, a volunteer in the parish office, said the “changes to the altar were lovely” after the renovations. “As the parish hall is an extension of our parish community, it is now time for the hall to be updated,” she said.

The other projects that the parish hopes to tackle through funds raised in the campaign:

• Construction of a faith formation centre: This annex to the main church building “will be an excellent opportunity to build up the formation and faith of the young, as well as adults,” Fr. Boyd said. Architects have drawn up plans for the space, and if funds permit, Fr. Boyd hopes construction could begin within 18 months.

• New church windows: It is a “majestic church,” Fr. Boyd said, and the windows have worked well for 55 years but have now “grown tired” and need replacement. The goal is to install “glorious stainedglass windows,” he said.

• Rectory renovations: The rectory, built along with the church in 1964, also has seen little change over the years and “it would be a great help,” Fr. Boyd said, “to cheer it up a little bit,” improve the living space and “give the priests a place to study and recreate.”

Fr. Boyd sees the One Heart, One Soul Campaign playing a key role in Holy Rosary’s future. “It is a great opportunity for the parish to come together, and I think it gives cause for us to grow in our friendship with one another, in a common vision with one another, and in our prayer with one another.”

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