A MIRACLE STORY
The Sisters of Saint Francis in Pittsburgh and
how they are blessing our new church.
A little background: The cost of new stained glass windows was beyond our budget so our architects designed windows that would be fitted with plain glass until, hopefully, one day the parish could afford stained glass.
We needed 12 windows.
We later learned about the Sisters of Saint Francis in Pittsburgh.
The Sisters' chapel had 12 windows.
Two of them depict Saint Clare of Assisi.
And they fit our architects' design by mere inches.
We have purchased also the Stations of the Cross, the high altar (reredos), the main altar, statues of Saint Joseph, the Blessed Mother, Saint Clare of Assisi, and a baptism font.
To God be the glory!
Would you like to sponsor liturgical items for our church?
For more information, please contact:
Rosemary Vatalaro at 843.471.2673 or email.
Father West at 843.471.2672 or email.
JR Buzzelli at 803.735.6680 or email.
Confessional - $20,000
Full Stained Glass Window (7 remaining) - $75,000 each
Half Stained Glass Window (1 remaining) - $40,000
Narthex - $25,000
North Tower - $200,000
Organ - $300,000
Pew (25 remaining) - $5,000 each
Priest Sacristy - $20,000
Sanctuary Chair (2 remaining) - $2,000 each
South Tower - $200,000
Work Sacristy - $20,000
These are the altars as they appeared in the Saint Francis motherhouse chapel. The rear altar is called a reredos (rare-rah-dose) whereas the front altar is the Altar of Sacrifice.
Statue of Saint Clare of Assisi, possibly for the church narthex.
These are the windows that will grace our church. N.B. The colors are brighter and more vivid that shown here.
September 9, 2020
The purchase of the 6.2-acre site by the parish was finalized with the Diocese of Charleston. The parish now holds title to the land.
While the building site is not filled with as much construction equipment as weeks past, we continue to make progress.
The first phase of our church construction project is nearing completion! There has been quite the flurry of activity over the past few months:
This is extremely important: Please keep paying your pledges on time. For those who are behind, please catch up as soon as possible. The cash flow plan will work only if everyone keeps the pledge money coming in as they agreed. We have spent $3.6 million so far on architects, engineers, deposits, windows, liturgical appointments, site work, and permits. Thank you for doing your part. If you need assistance with your pledge payments, please contact Carol Heck or Rosemary Vatalaro.
As you know from previous reports, the project has been scaled back significantly (more than 35%) due to the very expensive costs of construction in the Charleston market. Our Design and Build Team has spent more than two years value engineering (cost cutting) the project to make it more affordable without sacrificing the overall aesthetic of the project. There is nothing left to cut (well, maybe the air conditioning -- kidding).
So, a little pause in the action is coming up soon. But before you know it in the weeks to come, the project will be going gangbusters. And in no time at all, likely in late Spring 2022, we will be singing our Alleluias and praises to God for giving us this opportunity to build an edifice to his glory that will stand tall and proud for a very long time!
We are Blessed to Build!
Initial site work has begun with the installation of silt fencing around the entire site and protective fencing around majestic oaks and other trees. The storm water drainage system installation has begun. The church building pad is being formed.
February 23, 2020
Groundbreaking success! Over 500 people gathered on a spectacular late winter day to witness the blessing of the site by the Bishop of Charleston and the turning of the earth by the pastor, members of the Design & Build Team, the Mayor of Charleston, and our architects.
The final design and construction documents have been submitted to the City of Charleston for review and are now in the queue for the issuance of a building permit. There are many projects ahead of us. We hope to receive the permit in early March. This is a major step forward.
Many thanks go to everyone on our hard working Design and Build Team: Jim Ferrell, Frank Walsh, Catherine August, Greg Keating, Chuck Smiley, Will Danielson, and Steve Dudash. Now, everyone, get busy praying to Saint Clare that the process will move along smoothly!
1. Applications to various governmental agencies that regulate storm water and other environmental matters have been submitted. We expect those permits to be granted by December.
2. Our architects continue in their work to create the construction drawings, now at 75% complete. When they are 100% complete, the plans will be resubmitted to the general contractor for bidding. We expect the bidding to occur in late November or early December.
3. Our application to the Holy See for approval of the bank loan will go to the Vatican this month. We hope for approval by the end of November. Once approved, we will make the formal application to the bank. We expect to close on the loan at the end of December or early January.
4. We have reached an agreement with the Diocese for the transfer of the 6.2 acre building site from diocesan ownership to parish ownership. The purchase price is $2.2 million (market value is close to $4 million). We expect to make the transfer in early January.
Autumn 2019: Design completion, permitting processes with the City of Charleston and Daniel Island, construction bids sought, contractors selected. - Underway.
A parish wide town hall meeting was held on May 23 to give parishioners a thorough update on the project timeline, costs, and design. Information shared at that meeting was presented again in a shortened format during Masses the weekend of June 29 & 30.
The Design Review Board of the City of Charleston granted preliminary approval of the church exterior design pending a few minor modifications that are being tended to by our architects. The Building and Renovation Advisory Committee (BRAC) of the Diocese of Charleston has granted approval of the design.
We have received initial approval of our design plans from the diocesan BRAC pending a few minor tweaks. We have finalized the selection of our site and landscaping engineering firm, contracting with Thomas and Hutton Engineering with offices in Mount Pleasant. Our architects are presently interviewing acoustical engineering firms. We have finalized the total number of seats for the church at 961, including the loft and the sanctuary area. The Adoration Chapel will seat 40 people. Two members of our Design and Build Team -- Catherine August and Frank Walsh - are investigating the closures of churches elsewhere for liturgical pieces (altar, Stations, etc.) that would be appropriate for our church. Color sketches of the interior and exterior are being worked on by our architects and will be available to the parish in a few weeks. We are making great progress! Keep those cards and letters coming!
We are making our first formal presentation to the Building and Renovation Advisory Council (BRAC) of the Diocese of Charleston. The BRAC is comprised of lay and ordained people with expertise in the building and design arts as well as liturgical requirements.
We received preliminary design approval for Phase 1, the church building, from the Design Review Board of the City of Charleston on August 20, 2018. This means that the City has accepted the siting of the church and parking areas plus the exterior architectural design and the initial landscaping plan. The accepted plan is different from the previous design as follows:
Our architectural firm has been meeting with the Architectural Review Board of Daniel Island and the City of Charleston's Technical Review Committee. These are the first steps prior to submitting construction documents (which will be drawn in the months to come) to ensure that we are on the right path in terms of Daniel Island covenants and City of Charleston ordinances.
Late Summer 2017: Architectural firm chosen to begin the construction design of the church.
July 17, 2017: Design and Build Team Selects Geotechnical Engineering Firm
We have contracted Terracon Consultants, Inc., of North Charleston who will conduct geotechnical engineering services on the building site. In a few weeks you may see large trucks with drilling equipment. After taking soil and groundwater samples, Terracon will issue a report that includes:
Summer 2017: Final schematic design completed and presented to the parish.
June 5, 2017: Design and Build Team Selects Contractor to Assist in Pre Construction Services
The Design and Build Team, working closely with our architects, Franck & Lohsen, interviewed three local contractors and selected Trident Construction of Charleston. Trident is a local firm in business for 36 years, successfully managed the construction services of several church projects, including Saint Benedict Catholic Church in Mount Pleasant. They will begin working immediately with our architects to establish cost estimates based upon the schematic design, and will continue through final design development, preparation of construction documents, and completion of construction.
March 13-14, 2017: Our architects, Franck & Lohsen of Washington, DC, were in town to meet with the Design and Build Team in two three-hour work sessions. This was the architects' first visit since we hired them on a four-month contract to create a conceptual schematic design.
On the visit, they walked the building site, proclaiming it to be a "gem," especially because of the monumental trees that line Seven Farms Drive.
In the first meeting, they asked questions of the Team about facilities needs and wants -- possible number of seats in the sanctuary, the possibility of a smaller daily Mass chapel, an Adoration chapel, numbers of classrooms, meeting rooms, offices, social space, etc.
The following day they returned with long worksheets with proposed square footage requirements which the Team then reviewed and, in some cases, amended.
2016: Bishop Guglielmone gives the parish permission to begin planning the parish campus on the 6.1 acre site on the corner of Seven Farms Drive and Etiwan Park Drive.
Fall 2016: Twenty architectural firms are vetted. Three finalists are named. The Design and Build Team selects the firm of Franck & Lohsen, Architects, of Washington, DC, a firm respected for their design of classic and traditional Catholic projects, for a four-month contract to create a schematic design of the church, parish center, narthex and other facilities. The schematic design will include proposed floor plans, site elevations, and interior and exterior depictions. It is not the final design for construction but, rather, a proposal.