St. Peter's Expansion
FROM THE PASTOR’S DESK
UPDATE ON PURCHASE OF BENEDICTINE PROPERTY & COMBINED CAPITAL CAMPAIGN
Last Wednesday, July 19th, we had the parish-wide “Information Session” regarding the purchase of 14.077 acres of land and 16,000 square feet of buildings from the Benedictine Sisters. Approximately 70 parishioners and additional parish staff members were in attendance. A two-and-a half minute drone photography aerial video of the property and buildings was shown to give those in attendance a birds eye view of what is being purchased. The hour-and-a-half session included opening and closing prayers, a short presentation by me, and participants sharing their views and insights, with questions-and answers.
Our last two weeks of bulletin and pulpit announcements highlighted the coming kickoff of our Combined Capital Campaign Planning Study that will span five weeks beginning on August 7th. It will consist of some individual interviews of parishioners, mailed and/or in-pew survey questionnaires, and other interactions with parishioners. I will now address some of the important topics regarding this acquisition. Should an issue not be addressed that you have an interest in, please call Fr. Norman at (830)-431-4181 or EMAIL him.
What is the pressing need that led us to purchase this land and buildings?
St. Peter’s Parish is presently land-locked on 10.5 acres of land, with inadequate parking and facility space to meet the current and future needs of our ministries and services. In addition, with seven known subdivisions being built in areas proximate to our parish, Boerne is in a rapid stage of growth, which is a blessing but will place incredible strain on our current space and facilities if we don’t act strategically and quickly. The option to purchase land proximate to our current property is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our parish to accommodate our growth.
How much will we pay for the property?
The purchase of the 14.077 acres of land and 16,000 square feet of buildings is estimated to be approximately $3,995,000 pending a final appraisal.
How much must be raised for the Archbishop’s Archdiocesan “On the way, Adelante” Capital Campaign?
The proportion that St. Peter the Apostle Parish is to raise of the $60 million Archdiocesan goal is $l,599,000. Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller has worked with Archdiocesan officials and a special committee to designate how this money will be utilized to advance Catholic initiatives on the Archdiocesan level. These projects will be announced in future publications, but are all very worthy projects to evangelize.
Why are the Benedictine Sisters selling the property?
The Benedictine Sisters recently completed the construction of their new monastery and are using the proceeds from the sale to help finance their new facility. In their strategic planning process leading to the construction, the Sisters decided to “right size” their property, otherwise known as “down size” their property. Their new monastery consolidates all life-essentials of their community (living space, kitchen/dining, worship space, offices, nursing facilities, library/archives, etc.). Their preference was for the property to continue to be used for spiritual rather than commercial purposes. St. Peter’s Parish purchase of the property is a perfect fit for both the Sisters and the future growth of the parish. It preserves the sacred use of the property and buildings.
What are some of the immediate and future potential and possible uses of the property?
*Parish meetings for organizations, ministries and services.
*Overflow parking for masses at Christmas and Easter and other large parish events.
*Occasional prayer and other religious services in the chapel and on property.
*Parish conferences and parish day or weekend retreats.
*Life-Teen center, office and meeting space to expand outreach to Boerne youth.
*Boy Scout meetings and activities.
*ACTS months-long preparation and formation meetings for upcoming retreats and team day retreats.
*Outdoor Catholic family gatherings and possible site for future Parish Festivals.
*Knights of Columbus meetings and activities.
*Outdoor chapel area and possible site for Stations of the Cross.
*Cabins available for small meetings and community events.
*Most importantly, ample land for future development of buildings, spiritual events and parking.
The above list is not definitive of all possible uses. None of the above listed potential uses have been discussed or finalized yet with all parties named and involved. Parish staff will work with parishioners, ministries and organizations in finalizing how the property will be used. An evolving vision and practical uses will be developed over time. Whatever the case, we are no longer land-locked and restricted in our growth for the future. The possibilities are wide open and the Holy Spirit will surely guide us along the way.
Other important information that was shared during the parish-wide “Information Session”:
- Both the Benedictine Sisters and St. Peter’s Parish must employ their own respective professionals (realtor/broker, attorneys, bankers, etc.). Additionally, they must follow all civil laws as well as Church Canon Law and Benedictine Community laws for such sale and acquisition of properties.
- The Archbishop has rules in place for “Combined Campaigns” such as what St. Peter’s is doing. As a result, St. Peter’s is using the Steier Group to complete the Campaign Planning Study (normally called a feasibility study) and we will most likely be expected to use the Steier Group for the actual Campaign itself starting as early as October of this year.
- St. Peter’s current debt is $2,061,000 consisting of a mortgage and a bond. We are well ahead in paying off our debt overall. For example, we paid over $300,000 ahead of schedule against our debt. The bond portion of our debt does not allow for early repayment without punitive penalties. So, it will be paid off on schedule by 2022. St. Peter’s proved to the Archdiocese that it can repay its overall debt, including the new Benedictine property, with current and growing contribution base over a 15 year period. However, the loan should be paid off as much as possible with the Combined Capital Campaign (over a three year pledge payment period).
- St. Peter’s Parish has projected $80,000 in its 2017-18 budget for maintenance of the Benedictine property. Basic improvements to the property will be done over a three-year period and use of each building will be phased-in. Existing restrooms will need improvement and additional restrooms will be added. The Combined Campaign does not include costs for renovations to the current buildings.
- The finish out of the third floor of our existing Family Life Center is being delayed in order to purchase this Benedictine property. Having the new property will help us further clarify how best to design and finish out this space for best utilization. This opens many new possibilities.
- Replacing our existing church roof will cost approximately $250,000 to $300,000, all of which we already have in ample savings.
- The Combined Capital Campaign will be one pledge and payment, not two separate ones. However, the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal will continue along with the Archbishop’s Capital Campaign, which is the first in over 50 years.
- Although the property being purchased is not contiguous with our existing campus, it is still a wise acquisition due to its close proximity to our parish. This is not an unusual situation. Other parishes have split campuses with “annex” properties such as Our Lady of Guadalupe in Helotes, St. Matthews and Holy Spirit Parishes in San Antonio.
Why is a Combined Capital Campaign necessary?
Every parish is expected to contribute to the Archbishop’s Archdiocesan Capital Campaign as stipulated above. At the same time, that campaign is to be accompanied by a capital improvement project for the local parish as well. Our improvement project is the purchase of the Benedictine property. A Combined Capital Campaign will allow St. Peter’s Parish to contribute the expected amount to the Archbishop’s Campaign and help St. Peter’s to pay off as much of the Benedictine property purchase as possible. We believe that with the cooperation and generosity of every parishioner and family, St. Peter’s Parish has the potential to fulfill both projects! We want to pay off the loan for the property in as expedient a manner as possible. The Steier Group has been hired to do the feasibility study which will start on August 7th. Their personnel will be interacting with parishioners on several levels in completing this five week study. Please anticipate their calls or invitations to participate in giving feedback and possible commitments. They will also be asking for volunteers to assist in the coming Combined Campaign that may begin as soon as October of this year.
How much money will we be trying to raise for the Combined Capital Campaign?
The purchase of the Benedictine property is approximately $3,995,000. Our parish goal for the Archbishop’s Capital Campaign is $1,599,000. The total goal of the Combined Captial Campaign is $5,594,000.
What is next?
Prior to moving forward with the Combined Campaign, we are conducting the Campaign Planning Study that will provide St. Peter’s Parish with feedback about how to best approach a capital campaign for our parish as well as how much we can realistically raise in a campaign. Regarding the purchase, we are in the contract development phase. Once the contract of purchase is completed and signed by the Archbishop, a 3 to 4 month due diligence phase will begin (for site use
study, building and property inspection, title search, appraisal, survey, etc.).
Sincerely, Fr. Norman A. Ermis, Pastor
FROM THE PASTOR’S DESK:
Announcement of Additional Parish Property Purchase
On the weekend of July 15-16th at all Masses, I announced that we, St. Peter’s Parish, are in the process of purchasing 14.077 acres of land and 16,000 square feet of buildings from the Benedictine Sisters, which is located immediately to the west of our parish. This property will provide immediate relief to our overflowing facilities, but also provide for growth and expansion over the next 10, 25 to 50 years to address the rapidly expanding population of Boerne and its Catholic faith community. This $3.995 million purchase will secure our ability to meet the present and future needs of our parish and its mission.
This land is at the corner of West Highlands Street, School Street and Hosack Street. Since it is not contiguous to our present campus, it will be our “annex” property which can be used for a multitude of pastoral purposes. Our present campus is comprised of approximately 10.5 acres, very small for a parish operation. Adding this acreage and buildings will bring us to what is considered an average size property for a large parish (about 25 acres).
The option to purchase the property and buildings was seen as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity with a very small window of opportunity because the Sisters were receiving other offers. As pastor, I needed to act in an efficient, but professional and prudent way. In order to study the possibility and feasibility of purchasing this property, I created a Special Committee of our Finance Council members and other select parishioners who had expertise in areas needed for such consideration. The committee was comprised of the following parishioners (listed alphabetically):
*Fr. Norman A. Ermis, Pastor
*Paul Barwick, City of Boerne, Special Projects Director
*John Belter, Finance Council Member
*Mike & Carol Bidus, Grant & Fundraising Professionals
*Terise Bransford, St. Peter’s Pastoral Administrator
*Fr. Anthony “Tony” Cummins, Former Pastor of 24 years
*Brian D’Spain, Commercial Banking Professional
*David Drapela, Property Appraisal Professional
*Maria Guaransuay, Finance Council Member
*Jenny Halbert, St. Peter’s Bookkeeper-Human Resources
*Susanne Henslee, Finance Council Member
*Rick Martini, St. Peter’s Plant & Facilities Manager
*Jerry Muehlberger, Finance Council Member
Ken Nickel, Permanent Deacon of St. Peter Parish
*Rodeana Reynolds, Commercial Real Estate Professional
*Jim Sims, Finance Council Member
*Tony Skwara, Engineer & Property Management Professional
This Special Committee has worked confidentially on this opportunity for the past five months exploring every aspect of the sensibility and feasibility of this transaction. After these five months of internal work within the parish, and with Chancery personnel and an Archdiocesan Committee, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller granted permission to St. Peter’s to purchase this property.
Under normal circumstances, the parish would have to run a capital campaign prior to the purchase and have 50% of the money in cash and the other 50% in pledges. We are thankful for the Archbishop and his staff and committee for their partnership in making this purchase possible before doing a capital campaign. The timing of this effort coincides serendipitously with the upcoming Archbishop’s Archdiocesan Capital Campaign, the first in the Archdiocese in over 50 years. Participation in the Archdiocesan Capital Campaign is mandatory for every parish. Each parish is being assigned a goal to meet the Archbishop’s overall goal of $60 million. The Archbishop has designated many special projects and ministries for this campaign to assure Catholic growth and outreach on an Archdiocesan level. Those projects and ministries will be described in full in future communications.
St. Peter’s Parish is to raise $1.58 million toward this Archdiocesan Capital Campaign effort. We will be doing our St. Peter’s Capital Campaign as a “Combined Capital Campaign” to raise money for both the Archbishop’s and our St. Peter’s Captial Campaigns. The Archbishop’s Campaign anticipates that every parish will have a special “capital improvement project” of its own that money will be raised for, along with the money raised for the Archdiocesan portion. Our purchase of the Benedictine property is our portion of that effort.
To start this whole process, we will be conducting a five-week Combined Capital Campaign Study beginning the week of August 7th. The planning study is a parish-wide opportunity for every parishioner to offer input so a Capital Campaign plan can be designed that works best for the parish. The Steier Group has been retained to assist St. Peter’s Parish in this process.
Before the study begins, we want to make sure that every parishioner has the information needed to provide thoughtful feedback about our plans. On Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at 7:00pm we hosted an “Information Meeting” in the Cana Ballroom, at which Fr. Norman and parish leaders involved in the discovery and planning process presented more on these matters, answered questions and received feedback on the project. This invitation was put out to all parishioners and about 70 were in attendance with some staff members. Additionally, we will provide more detailed information in the coming weeks in Bulletins and on the parish Website leading to the planning study.
I want to thank the Benedictine Sisters for their cooperation and help in providing additional and ample time for St. Peter’s Parish to professionally study this possible purchase and to procure the needed archdiocesan approvals. Once the contract of purchase is negotiated there will be an approximate 3 to 4 month “due diligence” period before closing the deal. The Sisters and St. Peter’s are delighted that this property and buildings will continue to be used for Catholic spiritual purposes and mission, and not be developed into a commercial or residential-use facility. Maintaining the sacred use of this “holy ground” is important.
Overall, the purchase of this Benedictine property will be an underpinning to accomplishing all the priorities and goals of our St. Peter the Apostle Parish 7-Year Pastoral Plan, promulgated on Pentecost Sunday, 2016. This purchase opens many new possibilities for our parish and its host of ministries and services. That we purchase this property in the year of our 150th Anniversary as a parish is a great milestone marking a new and significant chapter in our parish history. Please pray for the success of the Combined Capital Campaign and thank the Benedictine Sisters for their generosity in making this transaction possible. God bless you all!
Fr. Norman A. Ermis, Pastor
Fr. Norman A. Ermis, Pastor
Post-Homily Pulpit Talk
Benedictine Property Purchase
I want to, again, thank Deacon Mike Matteson for being assigned to our parish by the Archbishop and for the openness, new life and energy that he brings to the diaconate on our behalf. He has been meeting many parishioners and organizations and services of our parish on weekday evenings and led his first wake service Friday evening. I thank him for preaching all masses for the first weekend here at St. Peter’s Parish.
Occasionally parish business is of such importance for the future spiritually that it necessitates the pastor addressing the full congregation during all weekend masses. This is such weekend.
All of you know that Boerne and St. Peter’s Parish are growing very rapidly. There are presently seven (7) subdivisions being built in our immediate vicinity. Kendall County is one of the fastest growing counties in the whole United States. Our parish is very vibrant, already serving 2,331 families. We have 89 very active ministries, organizations and services. There are times already when we do not have enough available meeting space to accommodate everything being sponsored through our community. For big celebrations, like Easter and Christmas, we have two masses at the same time, one in the sanctuary and one in the Cana Ballroom, and we do not have enough parking space. And, when we will need to build more space in the future, there is no more available land to expand on. Our present campus is only approximately 10.5 acres, very small for a large parish operation such as ours. We are landlocked.
As a pastor, I have been pondering this situation and its implications since arriving three years ago. Recently, two things have happened serendipitously leading to an incredible possibility.
- Recently Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, our spiritual leader, announced the “On the Way !Adelante! Capital Campaign” for the Archdiocese to provide funding for important archdiocesan projects, while expecting each parish to address their own needs for ministry and growth. The Archbishop wants our parishes to be vibrant in meeting the spiritual needs of our people. The archbishop will be raising $60 million and setting a quota from each parish based on their yearly income to meet that goal. This is the first Archdiocesan Capital Campaign in over 50 years. Each parish is also expected to raise an additional percent extra to accomplish, for example, some improvement or growth project of their own.
- The second thing that happened is that I learned the Benedictine Sisters, who are our neighbors and spiritual collaborators in Catholic ministries, were at a critical juncture in selling some of their property and buildings. They wanted a “good neighbor” to purchase it, some entity like a non-profit, a church or, in particular, St. Peter’s. The Sisters made a decision, while in the process of planning and building their new monastery, that they needed to “right size” their property. Most of us understand their concept better as “down sizing” their property. That led to the decision to sell a significant portion of their property and to use the proceeds to help finance their new monastery.
As pastor, I recognized this as a one-time opportunity for our parish to possibly purchase a larger parcel of land to provide for immediate use, and for future growth and expansion over the next 10, 25 and 50 years. I put together a special committee comprised of our Finance Council members and select parishioners with professional expertise to investigate such possible purchase. In confidentiality over a five month period these 15 people met to study this possibility from every angle and to go consult with archdiocesan officials, an archdiocesan committee and finally received permission from Archbishop Gustavo to move ahead with this project.
Today, I announce to you that St. Peter’s Parish is in the process of purchasing 14.077 acres of land and 16,000 sf of buildings from the Benedictine Sisters, which is located immediately to the west of our parish. This purchase will allow us to accomplish two important things:
- To lock in the purchase before the Sisters out of necessity might have to sell to another entity such as a commercial operation like a strip mall or high density housing project. With this purchase we will have a parish complex totaling approximately 25 acres, which is considered average for a parish as large and vibrant as ours. This will allow us to look to the demands of the future with a strategic solution to meet the spiritual needs of our community. The greatest value in this purchase is the land itself; the buildings will help us expand our meeting and parking space.
- The second thing this purchase will allow us to accomplish is to use this purchase as a capital improvement project for which we can do a Combined Capital Campaign with the mandatory Archdiocesan Capital Campaign that Archbishop Gustavo is initiating.
To start the process of the Combined Capital Campaign, we will be conducting a five-week Capital Campaign Planning Study that will begin the week of August 7th. This Planning Study is a parish-wide opportunity for every parishioner to offer input so a capital campaign plan can be designed that works best for our parish. Over the next few weeks, we will publish more detailed information about the land purchase, the planning study and how every parishioner will be invited to participate.
Before the study begins, we want to make sure you have the information you need to provide creative and thoughtful feedback about our plans. Please read my page and a half “From the Pastor’s Desk” letter in the bulletin for more information. Also, please come to an “Information Night” this Wednesday starting at 7:00pm in the Cana Ballroom. In the narthex today, there are three poster boards showing plats of the property and aerial photographs of the land and buildings that occupy it. Most of you will recognize the property and buildings because you have been there visiting, worshipping or volunteering with the Benedictine Sisters.
My desire as your pastor is to make sure that for the present and distant future St. Peter’s Parish has the ability and potential to be the “Catholic heartbeat of the Texas Hill Country”. This purchase will secure our future and we want all of you to be generous participants in securing that future. What a way to celebrate our 150th Anniversary as a Catholic parish. Thank you and let us continue our prayer and Eucharist.