My brothers and sisters, Last week I spoke at all the masses about the need we have to rebuild Visitation. As I had mentioned before, when I arrived as pastor, I have been told that there were years of deferred maintenance, and that many of the buildings were in sore need of attention. Engineers from the archdiocese surveyed the parish plant and estimated there to be $1.3 million in repairs and cautioned me that that figure would probably double in size when construction begins. Some of us were caught off guard, because “It doesn’t look THAT bad around the parish.” It isn’t until one begins to really look at the parish that one can begin to see how much need there is.
The ceiling in the parish hall is falling in. The parking lot is in need of being resurfaced. The school buildings are in terrible shape. The exterior bricks on the church and the school are both weather beaten and cracked in various places. The church terrazzo needs to be polished. Pews need to be cleaned and reinstalled. In short, we can defer maintenance no longer. Therefore we are starting a financial campaign, calling it Renew Visitation, beginning with a parish event where we gather to celebrate who we are as a community – what we once were and what we hope to become. Also at that celebration, we want to honor Fr. Grady who, more than anyone else, by offering more than 45 years of his life to this church, has shaped Visitation to be what it is.
On Saturday, June 25, from 6:00PM to 11:00PM, we’re going to begin this campaign with an event that we are calling O’Grady’s Pub. It will be in our parking lot under tents, with music, food and drink, celebrating who we are, and toasting Fr. O’Grady for all that he has been. Tickets for this dinner are on sale for $25. We will also have a raffle, the grand prize being $10,000. It is going to be fun. For this to be successful, we need your help.
Come join us at the O’Grady pub. Spread the word to your family and friends to come along too. Tell your FaceBook friends. Also, if you have any historical pictures of Visitation – First Communion’s, weddings, baptisms, etc. – please make a copy and send them to us. We want to assemble a commemorative booklet of our parish. There is more information available outside the doors of the church or at our website Visitationchurch-la.com. I am asking all of you to please come and support this effort.