Community News

Valley Stream parish on a fundraising mission

Blessed Sacrament begins campaign to repair complex, pay off debt


Blessed Sacrament Church is in need of a little TLC.

A leaky roof, a deteriorating façade and a failing air conditioning system are just some of the problems at the complex. The parish, coping with a multimillion-dollar debt, doesn’t have the means to pay for the repairs, but it will if a capital campaign project to raise $850,000 is successful.

The money would cover all necessary upgrades to the church campus, on North Central Avenue, between McKeon and Rose avenues. It would also help pay off the church’s $2.7 million debt. If the parish meets its goal, the Mission Assistance Corporation of the Diocese of Rockville Centre will take care of the rest.

“It’s a bargain,” said Andy White, the campaign director who was brought in by the parish because of his professional experience with managing similar projects. “The diocese is helping us a great deal.”

The Rev. Peter Dugandzic, the church’s pastor, said that many of the needs have been obvious for years. The original slate roof on the 50-year-old church building is leaking, and while water isn’t getting into the sanctuary, it is running down the walls and into the basement. It is also responsible for rotting wood and peeling paint on the overhang and support columns at the main entrance, on McKeon Avenue.

The air conditioning system breaks down from time to time, and the restrooms in the parish center have never been renovated. Additionally, Dugandzic said, the parking lot needs to be repaved before it becomes a major safety hazard.

Last year the church surveyed its parishioners about its needs, and to see whether financial support was available. White said that parishioners wanted a comprehensive repair plan that would address all the major facilities needs but wasn’t lavish.

He said that the capital campaign does just that. It is a four-year plan that would rely on close to 200 gifts, with most ranging from $2,000 to $50,000. The church has even created a gift plan under which, for example, a family contributing $2,500 could make 48 monthly payments of $47.

Dugandzic said that he wants parishioners to give what they can, and understands that some have more resources than others. “We’re not looking for an equal gift,” he said. “We’re looking for equal sacrifice.”

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