St. Edmund Church Storm Damage Update

September 8, 2023 
Good morning Parish Family, 

On behalf of Fr. Carl and all of our staff, we want to thank you for your faithfulness and ongoing support. It has been a couple of weeks since I provided an update. Truthfully, we have been waiting to get more information.

We are pleased to report that a contractor has been selected to do the church repairs. More details on the name of the firm and the expected timeline will be provided as soon as it is made available to us. We know this has been a long process which has had many implications on our faith community. Your frustration is understandable.    
Fr. Carl has asked me to reassure you that St. Edmund Church will reopen its doors. If you have heard rumors to the contrary, they are simply not true. Our parish community will be able to worship in St. Edmund Church as soon as the construction is completed. Unfortunately, the construction process is not a fast one as we are working with the archdiocese who is overseeing the project. The completion date will not be in October as we had been previously informed. Once we have details on the contractor, we will learn of the scope of work and the updated timeline. That information will be shared with you both in writing and via in-person information sessions which we plan to schedule for the end of the month. Please know that the sense of urgency is being conveyed to the archdiocese.  

McGivern Center 

We are happy to announce the reopening of the McGivern Parish Center! The center is one of our few buildings offering full accessibility to every parishioner and visitor. Since we don't know the construction schedule as of yet, we are opening the doors with a soft reopening schedule for now. A full reopening with expanded hours will come in the months ahead.  

McGivern Center's (soft reopening) office hours, beginning Monday, September 18: 
Mondays: 9am-4:30pm 
Thursdays: 1pm-7pm 
Saturdays: 10am-2pm 

Should you need an accommodation for a different time outside of the published hours, please contact the office and we will do our best to help you.  

Murphy Hall 

Murphy Hall is operational and ready to welcome you! The return of this gathering space has been a blessing to our entire parish. In recent weeks, we have held various social events, meetings and retreats. Remember that you can use this space for meetings and parish gatherings as it has full accessibility features. To reserve Murphy Hall, please contact Chris Rousakis at [email protected]

Please don’t hesitate to contact Fr. Carl with any questions or concerns. Remember that you can also reach out to Fr. Rex for any of your pastoral needs. 

Grateful for each of you, 
Maria M. Allori 
Director of Development 
Ascension and St. Edmund Parish 
[email protected] 
[email protected] 
August 9, 2023 

Dear Parishioners,  

Here is an update on the construction progress at St. Edmund Church from our pastor, Fr. Carl.
  • As stated in last weeks communication update, we are waiting for the project bids to come in so that one of the archdiocesan approved contractors can be selected and the repair work can begin. Last week, three construction firms were on campus to survey the repair work. As more information becomes available, it will be shared with all of you.
  • Raincoat Roofing came out this week to take care of an area on the school’s roof that required storm related repair work with some regular maintenance.
Thank you for your ongoing support throughout this process. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Fr. Carl at [email protected] with any questions or concerns.  

With gratitude for each of you, 
Maria Allori  
Director of Development 
[email protected] 
July 20, 2023 

Dear Parishioners, 

This is a weekly update on the construction progress at St. Edmund Church from Fr. Carl Morello and Deacon Gerald Keenan, Chief of Parish and School Operations. 
Many of you have asked for the names of the advisory committee comprised of various parishioners. They include Tim Blatner (Ascension, legacy parish), Susan Viselli (St. Edmund, legacy parish) and Tom Wheeler (St. Edmund, legacy parish). The names had not been published as we were waiting for our first official meeting to take place. That meeting came in the form a walk-through of the church and Murphy Hall which took place last week. Susan Viselli, longtime parishioner and parish leader, has provided a summary of the committee’s observations from our walk-through in a letter to the parish which is enclosed in this week’s bulletin. Please take a moment to read it following my update below.
We are happy to announce that Murphy Hall, one of the fully accessible spaces on the St. Edmund campus, will reopen on Saturday, July 29! The reopening will kick off with a fun hospitality event following Ascension’s Saturday Mass. Fr. Carl will be on hand to welcome everyone. This is an opportunity to come together as a unified faith community, mingle with our pastor and enjoy this much used space. The invitation can be found in this weekend’s bulletin. We are grateful to Fr. Carl for prioritizing the reopening of the social hall. In this way, we can continue our important work in a space where every member of our community can partake in our parish offerings with no worry about accessibility. 
Once the assessment report for the construction work is made available, we plan to schedule several gathering opportunities where we can share and discuss the information with all of you.
Thank you for your ongoing support. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Fr. Carl directly with any questions or concerns. 
With gratitude for each of you,
Maria Allori 
Director of Development
[email protected]

St. Edmund Church Update as of July 12, 2023
Dear Members of the Ascension and St. Edmund Faith Community,
As a member of the St. Edmund Church Repair Oversight Committee, I am happy to have taken part in yesterday's walkthrough at St. Edmund Church and Murphy Hall. I am pleased at how well it went and would like to provide you with an update of the two meetings we have had to date.
On May 31, fellow parishioner Tom Wheeler and I met in the Ascension Parish Center with our then pastor Fr. Rex, Development Director, Maria Allori, Director of Operations, Carlos Guerrero, Fr. Carl Morello, and Deacon Gerald Keenan, Chief of Parish Operations of the Archdiocese of Chicago. We were given a summary of Deacon Keenan's background and an update on inspections of the St. Edmund school building. We await copies of the reports on any structural concerns that may exist. We then requested consideration to establish an oversight committee during the construction phase of repairs to St. Edmund Church needed after it sustained damage in an April 4 microburst storm. There was consensus that such a group should be established, and we suggested adding a parishioner member with architectural expertise. Tim Blatner, established, well respected architect and long-term parishioner and member of Ascension's Building Committee agreed to join. 
We met for the second time on July 12. Our new pastor, Fr. Carl Morello, offered us the chance to see for ourselves inside the church. Bill Stapleton, long-time St. Edmund parishioner and building contractor with decades of experience working in buildings on the St. Edmund campus agreed to join to provide his expertise and a historical perspective.
We learned that in the last 6 weeks a structural engineering firm and a roofing company have conducted inspections in the church for storm damage and other issues that should be addressed. It is anticipated that insurance will cover repairs to the storm-related damage, with only a $1000 deductible.
We also learned that the slate pitched roof and the felt underlay on the church are in good shape. Some age-and weather-related damage, to be expected, is evident near windows and doors in the main church and the flat roof on Murphy Hall. The relatively new a/c compressors are fine and there is some typical rust on the HVAC compressor, but all are in relatively good shape, thanks to conscientious annual maintenance procedures that have been in place. These areas are unrelated to storm damage and are the result of expected changes in a structure built in 1907. 
The interior of the church is dusty but remains mainly unchanged, thankfully. One short pew in the back far right of the church, 4th row from the back, was destroyed by a concrete spire that was lifted off its steel support by the windstorm and fell from the steeple through the ceiling as a result. A circular hole now remains in the ceiling. The tile floor in that contained area was also damaged. Portions of another spire remain lodged in the ceiling but have been reinforced until they can be safely removed. A third spire is lodged near the steeple on the exterior and has been reinforced with a temporary wooden brace.
Fr. Carl reassured our group and reassured employees, patrons, and the owner of a local business that he will make sure St. Edmund Church is reopened as soon as possible. Everyone who heard his hopeful message was grateful. We appreciate his and Fr. Rex's concern and commitment to restoring this important worship space to the faith community. 
We were told by Deacon Keenan that a report of the church inspection should be available later this month. Bids from 3 firms to conduct the repair work within the sanctuary will be solicited after that time. However, Murphy Hall should be reopened much sooner. 
I hope this update has answered some of your many questions. I know you will continue to reach out to Fr. Carl, Carlos and to Maria if concerns arise. You are also welcome to contact me, and I will do my best to find the information you are seeking.
We look forward to celebrating the reopening of St. Edmund Church with all of you in the not-too-distant future.

Susan Viselli, Parishioner
[email protected]
July 6, 2023
Dear Parishioners,
This is a weekly update on the construction progress at St. Edmund Church from Fr. Carl Morello and a representative from the Archdiocese of Chicago (AOC).
  • Southwest Town Heating and Air Conditioning came out to evaluate the ventilation system in Murphy Hall. We are waiting for a quote to clean out the air ducts and vents as well as performing some necessary maintenance.  These steps are required before any reopening takes place.
  • We are hoping to resume activities in Murphy Hall by the end of July provided there are no setbacks.
  • Next week, the facilities advisory committee which is comprised of parishioners will meet with Fr. Carl and a representative from the AOC for an update.
Thank you for your patience. As always, please don't hesitate to reach out to Fr. Carl directly with any questions or concerns.
With gratitude for each of you,
Maria Allori
Director of Development
June 29, 2023 

Dear Parishioners, 

This is an update on the construction progress at St. Edmund Church from our parish leadership and the Archdiocese of Chicago (AOC). 
I have been asked to share the following:
  • We are expecting a report from Wiss, Janney and Elstner in mid-July which will give us a clearer picture of the necessary church repairs. 
  • Good news! In July, we will be taking the necessary steps to begin a phased re-opening of Murphy Hall and the McGivern Parish Center on the St. Edmund campus. As part of this process, we will be  consulting with our representative from the AOC, our parish staff, the facilities advisory committee and parishioners. 
  • Your patience is greatly appreciated. We recognize this has been a slow process but we have had to deal with time constraints and busy schedules on the part of the companies the AOC is currently working  with. 
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Fr. Carl or Fr. Rex directly with any questions or concerns.
Thank you for your faithfulness to our parish. 
Maria Allori 
Director of Development
[email protected]
June 21, 2023  

Dear Parishioners, 

This is a collective update on the construction progress at St. Edmund Church as of June 21st from our parish leadership and the Chicago Archdiocese.    
Here are the key happenings: 
  • Part of the assessment process includes looking at the entire
    church structure to identify any work which may require our
    attention both as a result of damages caused by the storm or as a
    result of normal wear. Once we identify both storm-related and
    non-storm related needs, we can share that information. At that
    time, we can have a dialogue about what can be reasonably covered with insurance versus what may need additional funding. Many of you have asked about starting a fundraising initiative but right now we don’t have enough information. You have always been generous stewards and when the time comes, should there be a need for additional support, we will let you know. Thank you for your willingness to help.
  • This week’s work on the church involved assessing non-storm related areas by the team of Wiss, Janney and Elstner along with Jones & Cleary. They examined the underlayment (tar paper) underneath the slate and roofing materials at the bottom of the sloping roof. They also looked at the copper roofing over the front entrance of the church which showed some evidence of water seepage in the front entrance. The stained glass windows were also inspected.
  • The facility advisory committee comprised of several parishioners is planning to schedule a follow up meeting with parish leadership and the representative from the Archdiocese of Chicago.
As always, please don't hesitate to reach out to Fr. Carl or Fr. Rex directly with any questions or concerns. Thank you for your faithfulness to our parish.  
Maria Allori  
Director of Development 
[email protected]