Blessed Sacrament Parish pays off building debt
SANDY — Festooned with Mardi Gras decorations, resounding with party music and replete with tables laden with dishes for the potluck dinner, Blessed Sacrament Parish’s hall was set for a celebration on Feb. 11. The reason for the celebration was declared in blue frosting on the carrot cake at the end of the dessert table: Congratulations Blessed Sacrament Debt free 2018!
“Thank you to everyone. You did it. You did it,” Fr. Sam Dinsdale, pastor, said to those gathered before going out to the entryway to burn papers related to the mortgage.
The church was built in 2005. The original fundraising paid off the majority of the costs, so when Fr. Dinsdale arrived at the parish, the debt stood at $230,000, and they were halfway through a two-year campaign to pay it off. At the suggestion of the pastoral staff, Fr. Dinsdale redoubled the efforts to eliminate the debt.
“People were very generous,” especially at Christmas time, he said, and now the parish is debt free.
While thanking those at the celebration, he said, “God’s grace is free; however, churches are not free.” He credited their generosity and the parish’s founding pastor, Msgr. Robert Servatius, with achieving the goal.
Msgr. Servatius, who died on Aug. 11, 2017, paid off a great part of the building debt, and “no doubt his prayers on the other side got us out of debt,” he said.
“I wish Monsignor could have been here for the mortgage burning since he did so much for the design of the campus and working diligently on paying off the debt on each phase of the school and church,” said John Wainscott, a longtime parishioner. “It’s so exciting to have this beautiful, gorgeous church that we all love, but it’s such a wonderful, wonderful process that we went through, and I’m very excited to see what we’re going to do next.”
Now that the debt is paid off, the parish will establish a rainy-day fund to pay for repairs to the buildings on the campus, some of which are more than 30 years old, Fr. Dinsdale said.
“We started building one section of the school at a time and then the gymnasium and the library and the computer center and on and on and on,” Wainscott said. “First we did all that, and then we got to get a new church. The excitement goes far beyond the past 13 years for the church. We’re all very excited.”
Parishioner Randy Taylor said having the debt paid off was liberating for parishioners “to see our blood, our sweat, our tears being put to good use … to hopefully do what God wants us to do.”
Having no debt is a great relief, agreed parishioner Michelle Beasley, adding that she was “extremely grateful to all the parishioners, to God and to Msgr. Bob to get this all started. I’m so grateful that it’s done, because there are lots of other things now to pay for. We’re not done yet.”