True North

Normally I muse about one thing or another here in the “pastor’s column” but only from time-to-time use the space to report on this or that. But this week I wanted to take a look ahead at what’s going on in this amazing parish and our future. One of the first things that comes to mind is our “Vision: True North”  (https://sacredheartfla.org/giving/truenorth) . It is a strategic plan and vision for our parish that addresses the phenomenal growth and change in our parish boundaries that could potentially double the number of households and families at Sacred Heart. As you know, we are landlocked downtown and have no ability to expand – but we have almost 10 acres just 1.5 miles north on Florida Avenue – the “North Campus.” The vision is that our downtown church will be our Center of Worship and a re-developed North Campus will be our Center of Faith, Family Life and Outreach.

As I have been reminded recently, when you are deep in the midst of things it is easy to assume everyone knows everything and is familiar with the language being used to describe it all. But we have already experienced growth in families and parishioners and folks, new and old, don’t always know “True North” – “North Campus.” North Campus is the ~10 acres and “True North” is the vision we want to implement there on the campus. It will mean some current structures will come down and new ones will arise. With the wave of change coming our way, we must change with it and be ready to serve those who come; continue to be parish-able to offer holiness, hospitality, healing, and hope. In other words, continue to live our mission as Church even as we build our future.

Whether you need to refresh the memory – or look anew – take a look at the webpage above and watch the two videos on the page that explain it all. And if you have never been to the North Campus (3515 N. Florida Ave.) – take a drive to see what we already have and imagine what can be. The campus is normally open Sunday morning after the 9 a.m. Mass until 1 p.m. or so for on-going Faith Formation programs.

If you were already informed and on top of it all, you might be asking – “so…any progress yet?” Not nearly as much as we had hoped. To that end we have a new architectural/engineering team in place driving ahead. We have accomplished some part of the site master planning – enough so that we are ready to undertake what we call the “curb appeal” project. Rather than explain – have a look at one of the renderings. A picture is worth a thousand words.

We already have the cash-on-hand for “curb appeal” project (thanks to your generous contributions to the True North fund!), the final site engineering, structural details, arborist, and other details are being completed – and then permitting by the city. The Bishop has seen the plans and given us the “green light” to move ahead. We hope to start by mid- to late-April and be finished by mid-July.

Once the plans are submitted to the city, we will return our focus to the site Master Planning, moving beyond concepts to the hard details needed to understand the sequence of needed events to begin the final push to “build our future” so that the North Campus will be our Center of Faith, Family Life and Outreach.

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