Up Front and Personal

Campaign Helps Restore OLA’s Church Tower

By Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, diocesan vicar for development

Our Lady of Angels Church, Bay Ridge
Our Lady of Angels Church, Bay Ridge

Our Lady of Angels Church, Bay Ridge, has been home to Msgr. Kevin Noone since he was born. “I’ve been pastor at Our Lady of Angels for seven years. This is my home parish, so it kind of came full circle,” said Msgr. Noone. “I was baptized and educated here, and I was appointed here after ordination. We have about 1,200 to 1,300 parishioners at Mass on a Sunday, and everyone sees themselves as a patch on the quilt. Everyone is part of the entire picture,” that we are trying to accomplish with the Generations of Faith campaign.

The parish had a goal of $980,000 and wound up raising $1,343,000 in pledges from 341 gifts. “I was a little doubtful that we would raise such a large amount, let alone go over goal! I knew people would be generous, but the figure was a bit more than we could do – or so I thought. The people surprised me! I’m very grateful,” Msgr. Noone explained.

The funds collected to date were received back by the parish in the Spring during the first disbursement to Block 1 parishes. The parish has used the funds for repair and reconstruction of the tower of the church on 73rd Street. The Church’s 80-foot tall tower has suffered severe water damage and the parish is in the process of making needed repairs to restore it to its full beauty and functionality.

“The scaffolding is up now,” Msgr. Noone explained. “We needed repairs made between the leaks and the cracks in the tower so that we could fix and preserve it for the future. It is a large project, and a portion of our Generations of Faith funds will enable us to complete the restoration.” The parish also plans to use the remainder of the funds collected to repair the organ in the church.

Reflecting back on Our Lady of Angels’ participation in the campaign, Msgr. Noone enjoyed witnessing “the cooperation and generosity of the people. There are people who stepped forward and we couldn’t do it without them! Some made significantly high gifts, some made more modest gifts, but the sense of sacrifice was apparent across the board.”

He also believes that his parishioners are grateful for the service of the priests who have served them and have a loyalty to diocesan needs. “They are concerned about the passing on of the faith to future generations. By including the youth initiative, we’re looking to put this money in place to secure trained ministers to guide the youth who will be tomorrow’s leaders.”

Because his volunteer team played a large part in communicating these messages to his parishioners through personal visits, receptions and outreach to ministries, Msgr. Noone held a dinner as a thank you to his committee. Throughout the process, he said of the reaction of his parishioners, “It was a lot of work but when you see the results, it was worthwhile. People came forward and enjoyed volunteering and working with each other, and a nice community spirit was built among these people, who, in many cases, had not previously known each other.”

The campaign truly created a bond between the volunteers and brought the parish together.”

“I’ve learned that I don’t have to be afraid to ask people for help,” Msgr. Noone shared of his experience in the campaign, “People are very willing to give a hand – never underestimate their generosity! All you have to do is basically share the truth of the case before you with your parishioners. These are real parish needs that we are working for, as well as helping our diocese.”