It's Getting Busy
March 13, 2017
The next, more invasive phase of our renovation project is underway!
The northernmost door to the church on Guadalupe St., by the tower, and the ADA entrance to the church from Guadalupe St. have been blocked and will continue to be inaccessible through the next few months of construction. The center and southern doors on Guadalupe St. and the wheelchair accessible door from the courtyard which leads into the church by the St. Joseph altar will remain open for all liturgies.
There will be some occasions during our weekly business hours that the ramp leading from the alley into the courtyard will be closed due to construction. A sign will be posted alerting you to this with instructions to use the main office door on Guadalupe St. at 21
This week our contractor is erecting the scaffolding needed to reach the bell tower and begin to remove stone there. Next week a sidewalk tunnel will be built to protect pedestrians in front of the church and will include tunnels to the center and southernmost doors of the church.
Our parking is also affected by the next step in our project. On Tuesday morning fencing will enclose part of the parking area behind the church. The driveway from San Antonio St. to the alley between the blacktop and the gym will be closed, as will most of the parking in this area. This space will be used for construction materials staging and storage. Consequently, our clergy are now parking under the gym, so you may see some signage changes there in the coming days to ensure that the priests have parking spaces available to them at all times.
All of the parking spaces that face the playground and blacktop along the alley will be open as of Tuesday, including all handicapped spaces. We ask that you only use these close-in spaces if needed, and if you are able to park in the garage at 500 W. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and walk over to the church or offices, please do so as a courtesy to those parishioners who can’t quite make the walk for any reason.
Thank you for your patience, your understanding, and your enthusiasm as we begin to see real progress on the church renovation!
We're Ready to Begin!
Oct. 14, 2016
Click here to read our E-Newsletter update!
It has been a banner week for progress on our church renovation project! This Wednesday our official construction sign was put up along Guadalupe Street in front of Newman Hall:
This morning we received word from Sixthriver Architects that our building permit has been approved by the City of Austin Development Services Department! Our beautiful new stone work and bathrooms are just around the corner! Our Property Committee meets next week and should have a detailed construction schedule info from Rizzo Construction, Inc. soon.
In more good news, our Faithful to Our Mission Capital Campaign pledge and gift total has gone over $4,775,000, and we have collected over $3,700,000 of your gifts to the campaign already! THANK YOU to the 630 families who have already participated.
It is not too late to make a pledge or gift to the campaign. If you would like to learn more about this project, please call or email Fr. Chuck Kullmann or Jennifer Anderson. We are happy to chat with you and provide printed materials.
An Update from Fr. Chuck
Sept. 25, 2016
Where’s the renovation?? Well, I am happy to report it is just around the corner. A large part of the delay has been getting approval and permits from the City of Austin Building Department. It turns out that one of the issues with the City is the lantern at the top of the tower. The City contends it violates the City’s Dark Sky Initiative. Our architects thought differently, but of course the City won. We have agreed to a compromise that we think will still achieve our goal of giving us a greater sense of presence on the Drag, even at night. There were also a few other minor issues, mostly about adding a few extra fire dampers, which we agreed to do. The revised set of drawings, with all that the City of Austin wanted, has been resubmitted about a week ago, and hopefully, when you read this, we will have in hand our approved and stamped plans so that we can go forward. YAY!
On Wednesday, September 14, the St Austin Building Committee met with our architects from SixthRiver Architects, and our general contractor, Mr. Bob Rizzo of Rizzo Construction, INC. He presented us with updated construction estimates. It has taken him a while to compile this, because all subcontractors are now very, very, very busy with construction in Austin. As you can tell by just counting the numbers of construction cranes you see all over the city, there is a tremendous amount of building going on. Some subcontractors are not interested in our project, which is rather involved and complicated, and not as big and lucrative as much of the other construction going on in our area. So it was a real chore for our general contractor to get accurate bid numbers.
However, he diligently pursued this and got us numbers in which we could have a reasonable level of confidence. The number he got was $3,694,129. This number is for construction only. It does not include our costs for fund-raising, for the architects, for permitting and testing and other such expenses. However, it is pretty close to what we were planning on. It is, in fact, about $90,000 over what we had targeted at our Property Committee meeting back in March. The Building Committee, with input from the Finance Council (several members were also at this meeting), agreed we could go forward with this level of cost and gave the go-ahead to Rizzo Construction to begin. I expect that mobilization and scheduling will take four to six weeks and that actual work will begin by the end of October.
I cannot tell you how glad I am that this project will actually start in earnest! I am sure you will all be glad to see it begin as well.
We are fortunate that we have gone over our goal for fundraising. We have also been able to put our money to work for us in this time of planning and permitting. Once actual construction begins, and we can see it happening, we will conduct another mini campaign to invite those who did not join us in the first campaign to now do so (some like to wait and see if this is for real and is actually going to happen), invite parishioners who have come to our parish since the campaign to join us, and welcome anyone who wants to increase their commitment. This mini-campaign will most probably be in the new year.
THANK YOU all for your patience and understanding as we go through this complicated and involved process of renovation. Thank you especially for your prayers. Please keep them coming!
Campaign and Renovation Update
May 9, 2016
The Property Committee had a very productive April meeting. Construction documents are scheduled to be submitted to the City in late May for permitting approval, and we are still on track for a late July start to the renovations.
We had some difficult choices to make due to budget constraints, as expected. We’ve eliminated the covered walkway through the courtyard, and will reuse some existing materials where possible. We will keep the fence and gate between the courtyard and Guadalupe Street, and keep as much of the existing stone that can reasonably be repaired and patched on the north, west, and south facades of both buildings. The east sides of both buildings will be entirely replaced with new natural stone wrapped 13 feet around the north and south sides, and all sides of both buildings will be cleaned and sealed.
We will use cast stone instead of natural on the bell tower, representing a significant $18,000 savings. The cast stone will match the new natural stone.
Some items are on hold pending budget allowance, including the metal screening for the AC equipment on the roof, and cleaning and painting the rectory fire escape railing and stairs. The remodel of the rectory first floor, intended to be a gathering and children’s space, will be priced separately. We are discussing some changes to finishes to reduce cost here as well.
The scope of the project still includes refurbishing the lamps, handrails, and bronze doors at the church front, repairing the front steps, and replacing the northwest side door and wall sconce. Small changes to the plans for the lobby and bathroom area include using smaller blocks of split-faced limestone, using standard wood paneling instead of acoustic, and researching tiling options other than terrazzo, such as pink granite to match the church steps. We are excited to begin work as soon as the permits are approved.
Campaign and Renovation Update
Feb. 7, 2016
Congratulations! Thanks to the generosity of our parishioners and friends, last week our
Faithful to Our Mission
Capital Campaign total for pledges and gifts has exceeded $4.6 Million! Over $3 Million of our pledge and gift total has already been collected, and most of this money will be exempted from the Diocese of Austin’s 9% cathedraticum, meaning more cash will be available to be spent directly on our renovation project.
We are moving toward the construction drawing phase of our project, and some hard decisions with regards to scope and cost are being made. At the Jan. 20 meeting of the Property Committee, committee members and the architects from Sixth River continued to refine design options and pricing scenarios. Decisions included placing the new covered walkway through the courtyard as our lowest priority and revising the proposed slot windows on the Guadalupe St. side façade of the church. Due to both existing and new leaks, new roofing is going to be required on the church, so after further research, roofing options will be examined at the next meeting.
However, despite changes in details, our main priorities have not changed: replacing the crumbing stone facades of the church and rectory, creating a new entry/alcove and installing new restrooms. Currently we anticipate construction to begin in July.
Dec. 6, 2015
The next two months of our campaign are crucial. The Diocese of Austin assesses a cathedraticum (Catholic tax) on all capital campaigns within its boundaries. This tax is 9% of money received, which could add up to $50,000 over the course of our campaign.
Luckily the Diocese of Austin provides a 1-year grace period of our choosing. Because generous campaign donors have already given over half of the funds pledged, our finance council has determined that it is to our advantage to take our cathedraticum grace period
. This means that
all contributions to the Faithful to Our Mission Capital Campaign are EXEMPT from the cathedraticum through January 2016
, allowing those who wish to do so to make gifts to the campaign in both the 2015 and 2016 tax years.
THANK YOU to the many parishioners who have already responded to Fr. Chuck’s letter about the cathedraticum and chosen to pay off their pledge balance early or make an extra payment. If you can, please consider making an extra gift during this time to help us use your entire donation exactly as it is intended – for our renovation project and to reduce our debt!
Campaign and Renovation Update
Oct. 16, 2015
This week our
Faithful to Our Mission
Capital Campaign total reached
! There are currently
families and businesses within our parish and community pariticpating in our Capital Campaign.
The renovation itself is moving along slowly. That is totally to be expected! Recently our property survey was conducted and soil samples were taken. Our architects have been revising their schematics under tthe direction of the Property Committee, and some of the finish out materials for the new gathering space have been chosen. When construction documents are completed, the information will go out for bid. The city permitting process is on-going. Over the next six months, though, everything should fall into place. We hope to break ground shortly after Easter.
Meanwhile, we continue to collect our campaign pledges and reach out to those who were missed or came to our parish since the campaign. This period to collect funds so that we have the cash in hand when we start work is very helpful.
The Diocese of Austin assesses a 9% cathedraticum on capital campaigns, but it provides for an exemption period of one year, during which all funds collected will
be assessed this tax. So far we have collected almost half of the money pledged to our capital campaign! If you are considering gifting the parish with a larger portion of your pledge soon, now is the time to do so! Our exempt period runs through January 2016. For more information please contact
Celebration Weekend Matching Gift
May 3, 2015
A generous parishioner who has already made a six-figure gift to the
Faithful to Our Mission Capital Campaign has promised a dollar-for-dollar matching gift of $25,000! Make your pledge between now and May 15 to help us achieve this generous gift!
May 3, 2015
Without your support of the mission of St. Austin Catholic Parish, we would not have such an incredibly successful Capital Campaign!
to download our Thank You bulletin insert from May 3, 2015.
More Work to Be Done!
April 8, 2015
We have officially exceeded our $4M goal! Our campaign pledges and gifts stand at $4,178,271.16. However, we are not resting YET! This total represents only 27% of parishioners! The next two weeks we are reaching out to anyone who has yet to make their pledge. Let's raise our participation rate!
Lay Witness Talks Now Online
March 15, 2015
Each weekend in March we have been hearing from our fellow parishioners about the role our faith community at St. Austin plays in their lives and why the campaign is so important at this time. You can watch and read their talks here:
Thank you to each of our volunteers for taking on this important role on our campaign team!
March 12, 2015
Thank you to those of you who have already pledged your support to the Faithful to Our Mission Capital Campaign. Because of your support, we have surpassed $2 million in gifts and pledges! Next weekend there will be an important event for the campaign and the parish. We will conduct an in-pew appeal for our construction and debt reduction project.
Though it appears we are only half-way to our $4 million goal, we need only $250,000 to obtain the $1 million challenge gift that has been offered us. Once that gift is realized, we are well within range of our final goal.
If you have not already submitted your financial support for Faithful to Our Mission, please consider a sacrificial pledge in support of the campaign and plan to complete a pledge card at Mass next weekend.
We're Almost There!
March 5, 2015
We just exceeded $1.8M in campaign pledges and are only $440,000 way from our extra $1M gift! If you haven't had a chance to turn in your pledge card, NOW is the time! Every dollar pledged this week is doubled by our donor's $1M pledge, which we will obtain at $2.25M!
Help Us Reach Our Goal!
February 23, 2015
One million dollars has been promised on the condition that the campaign raises $2.25 million from the parish. We currently have over $1.5 million pledged to our campaign, so we are very close to this goal. Every dollar pledged this week will be doubled by this donor's $1M pledge, so your gift to St. Austin will have twice the impact! Help us reach $2.25 million by turning in your pledge today!
This weekend our campaign pledges went over $1 Million!
February 15, 2015
Please continue to pray for the sucess of our campaign using the capital campaign prayer written by our campaign leadership team:
Spirit Most Holy
Giver of our every gift
may we be about your work
here in this place and time;
enacting our faith,
proclaiming your trust,
faithful to our mission,
as members of the Lord’s household.
May our actions and commitments
speak as loudly as our words.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Capital Campaign Update
February 10, 2015
Last week we celebrated the start of our “Faithful to Our Mission” capital campaign. Much has already been accomplished. 50 campaign volunteers are led by 24 leaders. These leaders include our General Chairs Kevin and Barbara Barry, Steve and Laura Beuerlein and Christopher Kennedy, and Honorary Chairs Jack and Patti Gullahorn, Joe and Teresa Long and Joe and Ida Malina.
With this capital campaign, we will raise $4 million for the purpose of providing a safe and attractive church exterior, new restrooms and gathering space next to the sanctuary and debt reduction. Last weekend, you were mailed an information packet with a brochure outlining our project and a letter from Fr. Chuck, requesting your support. Please take time to review these materials to learn how campaign will benefit our parish.
In the next few days, volunteers will be contacting you personally to discuss the campaign, answer your questions, and ask you to make a gift to this important effort. These volunteers are a tremendous resource. They are giving their time and talents to this effort, so please be kind and generous when they call!
Frequently Asked Questions
February 1, 2015
FAQ #3 - Campaign and Renovation Logistics
Who decides what we are doing or how we are going to do it? Do we have to get approval from the Diocese? Are we tapping into university students and alums to support this campaign? How are St. Austin School and Univerity Catholic Center involved? What happens if Fr. Chuck leaves? And how in the world did you come up with our family's campaign ask amount?
Click here to download FAQ #3!
The digital version of our Case Statement, mailed to all parishioners the week of Jan. 24, is now online!
FREE Planned Giving Seminar!
Do you have concerns about how events will unfold after you are gone? Do you need a will? How long is the probate process in Texas? How do you want to be remembered? For answers to these questions and more, come to our Planned Giving Seminar!
Tuesday, February 17 at 6:30 p.m. in Hecker Hall
Parishioner, estate planning attorney and probate expert Brad Wiewel will provide answers to your questions concerning what options are available to address some often difficult questions as we near the end of our lives. Joining Brad, Fr. Bob Cary, CSP, will discuss pastoral and non-material issues that are prevalent as well.
This event is free and open to all, but please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org so that enough materials will be available.
Frequently Asked Questions
January 11, 2015
FAQ #1 - The Need for Renovations and a Campaign
This first of several FAQ updates regarding the proposed church & rectory renovations and the Faithful to Our Mission Capital Campaign answers many of the initial questions we have received since this fall. Why are we doing this now? What is being proposed? How long with this take? How is the project being managed? Are we changing anything inside the church?
Click here to download FAQ#1!
FAQ #2 - How are finances being handled?
St. Austin's community is blessed with astute business persons with legitimate concerns about parish finances, particularly with regards to the financing of our parking facility constructed in 2008 following the capital campaign of 2004 and the current debt load we are working hard to manage. Our Finance Council created this FAQ to help answer your questions about what happened during the 2004
Built of Living Stones
campaign, where that money has gone, and why we are now conducting a campaign with $750,000 dedicated to debt reduction.
Click here to download FAQ#2!
Ways to Give
December 19, 2014
The “public phase” of our
Faithful to Our Mission
capital campaign will launch in January, but you can give a year-end gift now that we can apply toward your pledge!
The IRA Charitable Rollover, a popular charitable giving tool for donors are 70 ½ and older, is available from now until the end of the year. The current opportunity is only available December 31, 2014 (legislation to make this option permanent is in the works). Donors age 70 ½ and older may transfer up to $100,000 from their IRA to St. Austin (or any other qualified public charity). The transfer is free of federal income tax, and the gift qualifies for the donor’s 2014 required minimum distribution. Contact your IRA administrator to let them know you’d like to make a contribution to St. Austin this year!
St. Austin can also accept transfers of stock.
to download a sample transfer of stock letter. The letter includes our DTC number needed for your agent to complete a transfer.
What's Your New Year's Resolution?
December 18, 2014
Are you thinking about learning a new skill in 2015? Spending more time at church? Getting more involved in your faith life? Meeting new people in the parish? Being a part of something bigger? Then we’ve got the ideal opportunity for you! Join St. Austin’s capital campaign team and help us raise the funds needed for us to be
Faithful to Our Mission
. Fundraising experience is not required -- just a desire to learn and passion for St. Austin! For more info contact
Good Shepherd Committee
November 15, 2014
Fr. Chuck has formed a Good Shepherd Committee whose purpose is to help address pastoral concerns and to consistently pray for the success of our capital campaign and church renovation project. Members of this committee are active parishioners from varying backgrounds. If you’d like to reach out to them, please email
Our committee members are: JL Brown, Susan Cimino, Patricia Garcia, Nancy Jones, Patrick Keel, Laurie Kertz, Kathleen Powers, Hugh Randolph, Martha Schroeder. Please feel free to approach any committee members personally if you have questions or concerns.