Our Parish School and our Parish Campus:
Separate But Connected
As our parish continues to grow and thrive, certain needs have arisen that require special attention and a special dedication from St Mary as a community of faith. Catholic education has been integral to our parish life, first with Montfort Academy, established in 1948, and then the creation of Holy Cross Academy in 1998. Since that time the school has grown and and the needs of modern education have changed. Part of that growth was the establishment of Holy Cross Preschool at St Mary in the Parish Life Center. While welcoming the Preschool to the Parish Campus, we also lost the use of the PLC for a number of activities during the school year. As St Mary continues to grow, the need to increase our ability provide bible studies, funeral receptions, and other meetings has increased while our meeting space has remained the same.
OUR PARISH CAMPUS
Since St Mary moved to our current location in 1972, St Mary has grown in property size from the original foot print of the church, the Parish Life Center, and the rectory. As it stands today, the parish owns the three aforementioned buildings, as well as the 8 houses that comprise the square block between Stafford Avenue, William Street, Royston Street, and Augustine Avenue. The 8 houses are all used for various functions as outlined on the below map.
The most recently purchased property is House E, the St Joseph House. The Parish was approached by the owner who offered to sell it to the parish in late 2020, and the purchase was completed in April 2021. Currently, we are in the process of rezoning the property to be able to use it for meeting space. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, it will be used for bible studies and RCIA. As part of the rezoning, there is the possibility of the St Nicholas House, House B, to be rezoned as well as a potential meeting space. However, substantial renovations would be required before we are able to use that property for that purpose.
HOLY CROSS ACADEMY
Established in 1998 by the Oblate Sisters of St Francis DeSales, Holy Cross Academy has served for over 20 years as the parish school of St Mary of the Immaculate Conception. St Mary originally started offering Sunday Mass at Holy Cross years ago, and since the pandemic, we have offered two Sunday Masses on the Holy Cross campus every Sunday, and additionally on Holy Days such as Christmas. In addition, Holy Cross has hosted the parish picnic, the volunteer appreciation dinner, numerous confirmation retreats, and religious education for St Mary parishioners. Originally K-8, the school expanded to include St Mary PreSchool which now occupies the Parish Life Center on the church campus. However, the building is in need of expansion to afford the students more opportunities to grow in knowledge and faith. Part of the expansion would include replacing the heating and air conditioning system which is reaching end of life.
HOLY CROSS ACADEMY RENOVATION AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR ST MARY’S CAMPUS
As a result, the leadership of the parish and school have discerned that major expansion at Holy Cross Academy is required to provide our students with the space required to thrive academically and to continue to foster their spiritual development in the Catholic Faith and to permit the parish to expand back into the Parish Life Center for events during the school year. A proposal has been made to expand the school in the following ways:
- Move the Preschool from The Parish life Center to Holy Cross Academy
- Add three new classrooms
- Create classroom space for foreign language and honors math
- Building a cafeteria to permit more activities in Immaculate Conception Hall, the current gym/chapel/theater/multi-use space
- Renovate the playground and move locations to accommodate the expansion
- Relocate and expand the chapel so that students and staff can have regular interaction with our Lord and Savior in the Blessed Sacrament.
Moving the Preschool from St Mary to Holy Cross is one of the pivotal pieces of our plan. This move will make drop-off and pick up easier for HCA families with students in both programs, create a more unified environment for the school community, and free up the Parish Life Center for use of the parish during the school year. The benefits of moving the preschool to the HCA campus to parents, students, and parishioners makes this one of the most important enhancements that school expansion can bring to both our school and parish communities.
ST MARY CAMPUS IMPROVEMENTS
At the parish level, our commitment to worshiping our Eucharistic Lord has brought massive growth to our adoration hours, which is creating a constraint when scheduling other necessary parish events. Turning the current Rooney Room into an adoration chapel will allow us to continue to foster a devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, while being able to accommodate the sacramental needs of a growing parish. The ability to use the PLC during the day during the school year, supplemented with the ability to use the recently purchased St Joseph House, will add to our ability to host the many different faith activities that the parish currently welcomes.
St Mary is an incredible generous parish. Our Sunday offering remained steady during the pandemic where other churches fell off, and your constant generosity allows the parish to be able to operate at the level we do. With over 18,000 registered parishioners, there is always work to be done and your generosity allows the parish to be able to do it without hesitation. However, with the special and costly needs associated with the expansion and campus improvements laid out above, a different type of charitable collection is required.
St Mary has begun to undertake a capital campaign, which we have themed Growing Our Legacy of Faith, to meet the financial requirements of this expansion. Usually an outside firm is hired to coordinate the process of targeting donors, pledge goals, and the associated marketing costs (booklets, mailings, etc.), but Father Mosimann has enough experience, and with the tireless support and hard work of the Capital Campaign Committee, we have skipped the middle man and are doing the entire process in house, saving the parish hundreds of thousands of dollars. Through prior fundraising, we have already been able to collect $1.6 million. We estimate to meet our goals that the parish will need to raise an additional $7 million. This includes $6 million for the expansion of Holy Cross, and about $1 million for the improvements to St Mary Campus. Included is $1.9 million to pay off the remaining debt from our 2010 renovation.
The parish leadership believes that the expansion and parish improvement will benefit every parishioner, every school family, and the entire Catholic community of Fredericksburg. For more information, please see the Capital Campaign Booklet attached below, or contact our Capital Campaign Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.