In this letter, Fr. Marc Vernoy, Prior gives an update on the projects going on at Saint Thomas More in Sanford.
Dear Faithful, friends, and benefactors,
As you well know there are many great things underway here in Florida for the Society of Saint Pius X.
So many that it can be difficult to keep a hopeful perspective on the progress being made.
All our missions have projects and Sanford has the major ones: Project Reconquista for our Academy (Primary school and our Girls’ High school) and Project Saint Joseph for our boys’ High School.
But it seems obvious that we are being well used to further the rebuilding of the Catholic Faith in our little corner of the world that we love so much.
To give a brief overview of where we are at, here is a breakdown of the major works that are underway.
- The completion of the Priory; although completed it is good to take stock in the major accomplishment of our beautiful center of tradition here. Eight priests, well cared for, servicing seven different Mass centers and an Academy in a 65,000 square mile radius. In just 12 years. Truly a remarkable blessing.
- The Sacristy extension is a much-needed addition to this amazing Catholic hub. As you know, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass deserves a worthy place to be celebrated and that is the aim of this project of primary importance to all our priests for all daily Masses. All of our graces and strength come from the many Masses said daily on our altars. As you can see this project is off to a good start. We are using the same builder as in the last project and has always treated us as family. Although many great things have happened to show God’s blessing on this work, we are being held up by a simple electrical part that is due to be available in June. We are petitioning the city to allow us to temporarily use the current part so we can keep moving ahead. It appears that we are going to come in below budget once all the expected hurdles are overcome.
- Saint Thomas More Catholic Academy. It is well known that the future of the Church is shaped by the education of the next generation.
There is no more important work than this to future families and vocations. It was the constant advice of Saint Pius X to his parish priests.
We have got to be inspired by the incredible growth and quality of Catholic education here. There have been families relocating here due to our attention to the formation of the children in our charge, it is only a beginning.
There are currently 80 students from grades 1st through 10th with an expected enrollment next year of 120 students. The High Schools are expected to reach 30 this coming year. The project for the expansion of our elementary school is well underway with construction hopefully set to begin this summer. The current school plan being submitted to the city is for classrooms to accommodate 240 students. Some of the hurdles for this to happen are some zoning changes to unite the property all under the city, obtain a conditional use permit, and then securing building permits.
The District Office of the Society of Saint Pius X has approved St Thomas More School to find a new location for the Boys’ High School. A number of properties were looked at and considered. But it appears that as usual our great St Joseph has come to our aid and exceeded all our expectations. We currently are working on acquiring an amazing historical property that would more than fulfill all our dreams for the incredible growth of higher education here in Florida. This purchase is giving us such great hope and confidence in the Providence of God in relation to our ongoing struggles.
The yet unspoken factor in this remarkable history is you the faithful parishioners. Our Lord has arranged that each one of us be here to further His plans for the rebuilding of the Church. We must all realize this and work with a spirit of confidence and charity to fulfill our part and return to Our Lord the great favors He has bestowed on us through the gift of our faith, and the opportunity we have to properly practice it. This report is surely a fine example of the love God has for us and the promise of His blessings in the future. Let us persevere with the greatest generosity we can muster. This Lenten season is the great occasion to continue to prove it.
St. Paul reminds us of a great rule: “He who soweth sparingly, shall also reap sparingly: and he who soweth in blessings, shall also reap blessings. Everyone as he hath determined in his heart, not with sadness, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2Cor. 9:6).
Let us thank Saint Joseph, our Patriarch, for his great work and gifts and pray him that we may achieve all our projects according to the will of the Good Lord.
May God bless all of us and especially our admirable families.
Father Marc Vernoy, Prior