Fr. Tim's Welcome



Parish Center and School Roof Project


We are slated to begin replacing the 2 story School Building Roof the 1st week of February.  Although we are able to complete the project during school hours, we will be disrupting the upper floor classrooms for a couple of weeks.  This will entail some shuffling of room space and dedicating Room A for temporary classroom services.  The plan (hope) is that the School Building and the Media Center roofs are completed by mid-March.  They will then move to the Parish Center Roof.  This will be a different style roof.  We expect some noise disruption during the first parts of the process, but the Parish Center should be available during the evenings and weekends.  We will be having weekly construction meetings and we will keep the parish informed.  We have most of the funding in savings, and if necessary we will be able to obtain a brief completion loan from the Diocese, so we do not need to disrupt the process.

Both the School and Parish Center (gym) roofs are in such of state of wear that we need to replace them.  One quick look at these roofs will tell you they need to be replaced.  We have been fortunate that there have been no major leaks that have required us to close any classrooms or the parish center itself.  However, it is getting close.  There have been more consistent small leaks in the 8th grade, Kindergarten, and Parish Center.  Both the School (1965) and Parish Center (1972) have the original roof base.  This 21,200 sq.ft. project is a sizable undertaking for St. Raphael. 

Our building engineer has completed the design phase and product selection phase and has estimated the cost of replacement at about $450,000 plus their fees of about 10%.  With their expertise and know-how, we can obtain bids and have the project completed by April or May of 2019.  The entire project, removal and replacement of the gutters and roofs, will take about 6 to 7 weeks.  The replacements will not only better insulate the rooms from weather and sound but will have a 20 year warranty.

Organ Update


 Gifts to date - $89,000 of $89,000

THANK YOU - As of March 10th the new organ has been paid in full!


What would Liturgy be without Music?

What would Liturgy be without Music? Music is an intrinsic aspect of worship. St. Augustine once said, "Music is likewise given by God's generosity to mortals having rational souls in order to lead them to higher things." We at St. Raphael are blessed with two very different forms of music that helps the assembly express their faith. I would like to address the more traditional of those forms. In 2005 when the current St. Raphael Church was dedicated, one of the main elements that the parish was not able to include was a new organ. Although planned for, at the time the finances did not permit the purchase and installation of an organ appropriate to the new space. Our 30 year old organ, designed to handle about 2/3rds of the space it is currently in, was moved from the old church to the new church.

Over the last few months, within some of our committees we have talked about many things including the remaining life span of the current organ. The last major repair was about 4 years ago, silenced for four weeks, we were fortunate to find the circuit board in inventory across the country to repair it. Of the eight speakers that produce the sound of the organ, three are in need of replacement. We thought it best to begin investigating a proper replacement now rather than waiting for crisis mode to replace it with something affordable at the time. We know it is better to put in a beautiful instrument that will enhance our liturgical celebrations. Of course, it would be impractical, and maybe a bit irresponsible, to replace it with a full pipe organ, costing at least a quarter of a million dollars, however recent technology has improved the sound of an electronic organ so much that only an expert can hear the difference.

Not long ago, I, along with Paul Dixon and Deacon Jim, visited the local Rodgers dealer for information and a demonstration. Rodgers is a popular church organ in Florida, in fact there are Rodgers organs in all seven Cathedrals in Florida, including the Cathedral of St. Jude. Within 15 minutes of hearing the recommended organ we were moved by the clarity, variety, and crisp sounds of the music. Not only is this three-manual organ more appropriate for St. Raphael, but the organ includes 376 voices and 58 instrumentations.

We are fortunate to have an extremely talented organist in Paul Dixon who can make this organ sing like we can’t believe. Can you just imagine the beauty of liturgical pieces by Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, or Mendelssohn, resonating through the nave of St. Raphael? Can you just imagine the emotions that would fill the senses of those attending weddings or funerals?

I am happy to say that for an investment of $89,000, which is about 70% of the regular price, we were able to bring this Rodgers Infinity 361 organ to St. Raphael to provide beautiful music for years to come.  The installation was completed on January 25th 2018.  We are in the process of collecting funds to finish the final payment due in early April.  The generosity of our parish members has, and will continue to make this happen.


Yours in Christ,


Fr. Tim Sherwood, Pastor 

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