Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Restoring a Piece of Church History - A Campaign

Are you Church history buff looking for an opportunity to participate in the restoration of a historical Christian monument? Or an architectural history nerd who would love the opportunity to help restore the very last building design by the man behind Annunciation Catholic Church's bell tower? A philanthropist looking for a great cause to donate to for the betterment of society, history, and faith? Need to donate some money to a charitable organization for tax purposes, but want to find something really worthwhile? Or do you simply have some spare cash or other assets looking for a good place to go?

Look no further! The "Hail, Full of Grace Capital Campaign" has exactly what you are looking for!

From the campaign homepage, we learn that "Annunciation Catholic Church is a vibrant and historic parish community that dates back to 1869. For over 140 years, our church has been ministering to the needs of our greater Houston community. As the mother church of Houston for nearly one and a half centuries, Annunciation Church has spawned over 50 parishes spread throughout the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. And while facilities and faces have changed over the years, one thing remains the same…our commitment to Christ, to one another, and to the betterment of our community" (Walsh and Associates, 2015).

Beginning with the purchased bricks of the old Harris County Courthouse (1867) to the Gothic entrance and bell tower designed by the late Nicholas J. Clayton, Annunciation Catholic Church stands as a historical monument in Harris County. In fact, in 1969 it was recorded as a Texas historical landmark. (You can find more about the parish's history HERE.)
In recent years, the building has undergone several needed repairs and upgrades, including the re-leveling of the foundation, installation of a sound system, restoration of the pipe organ and the Our Lady of Perpetual Help icon. Several parts of the interior of the church have been repaired/repainted and the air conditioning/heating systems have been updated/repaired.

But with all the refreshing work done to bring the building back to its days of glory, the parish is still without a rectory (which had to be demolished last year), a bridal room, and even suitable restrooms. Parking can be a headache if not planned out in advance, especially during baseball season, as the building is literally across the street from Minute Maid Park. But, instead of just accepting the fact of a historical landmark slowly losing its functionality, or letting the most beautiful and breathtaking piece of art in all of Houston (in this author's opinion) slowly decay, the parishioners and Priest of Annunciation have decided to do something about it.

The Hail, Full of Grace Capital Campaign is the drive to bring Annunciation back to structural life and encourage deeper community relationship. The spiritual life of the parish has never faded, and in fact continues to grow as families from miles, and hours, away seek it out for its beauty. The amazingly authentic Christian worship, available in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms (and in both English and Latin in the Ordinary), draws the parishioner into a true reflection of the worship God desires from us. It makes us more aware than ever of our presence at the gates of Heaven and the foot of the Cross, bringing the Gospels and Revelation to life in a way that many Christians, Catholics included, have never realized. In all my 34 years as a Catholic before attending this parish, I had never felt so fully, or participated so fully in, the Mass. After 7 years here, I still look in awe at the beauty of the Mass celebrated here. Can you imagine what could possibly draw dozens of families of several small children to attend Mass at a parish where parents are refereeing a 'death match' between "the kids" vs. "sports fans"; "marathon runners"; "single-person-'por-to-lets'-until-other-arrangments-were-made"; "having to drive an hour to church, sit through Mass, and drive an hour back home"? We aren't there for convenience or locality or amenities. We're there for a faithful and extremely beautiful Mass experience. And now we want to restore the structure of our parish to complete the job that was started years ago.

The campaign goals are high, and the parishioners have stepped up large to meet the challenge head on. Now we'd like to offer others an opportunity to take part in this truly historical event. Will you please consider praying for us to meet our goals to restore and refurbish our parish? Would you also consider a donation?

Please visit the Campaign website or the Annunciation Catholic Church homepage and click the pertinent links for details, our common prayer for the campaign, and much, much more.

Thank you in advance, and may God bless you richly in this life and the next!

Photos courtesy of anonymous Pinterest user (interior photo) and Annunciationcc.org (Postcard from 1907).

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