Parishioner concerns that were made in the extensive survey taken earlier this year are being addressed with projects completed and others awaiting funding.
“We have a beautiful gift given to us in this Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, and we take its care very seriously,” says Deacon Gary Brys, Parish Business Manager and Project Manager. “Our focus is not only on maintaining its beauty but also maintaining it as a place of worship without distraction, so we can focus on the beauty of the Eucharist.”
The upgrade to the cathedral sound system is one example of the maintenance needed not only for beauty but also for a worship space. The sound system was one item of particular concern noted in our parish survey. The building’s acoustics made it difficult for many to understand and hear portions of the Mass.
“This was a challenge,” Deacon Gary says. “We are hoping it will be done before Advent.”
Other issues of concern noted in the survey were those attributed to the unhoused persons in the vicinity of the cathedral. Some responses cited problems with trash left behind on cathedral property, while others reported feeling unsafe in the cathedral neighborhood.
“These are some of the issues that popped up,” Deacon Gary says. “We do have projects underway. We have hired a forensic cleaning company to come weekly to clean and sanitize the steps and stairs. We are in the process of hiring an exterior cleaning company that can pick up trash left by the unhoused. There will be more to see on a regular basis.”
Other steps being taken include having onsite security on weekends. The Sacramento Police Department has also been contacted to provide additional patrols. The Mass Greeters are directed to watch what is happening around them and to make sure the parishioners’ entrance is safe.
“We are working with the Diocesan Security Coordinator to make sure all the necessary procedures are in place,” Deacon Gary says.
There are plans to install gates and fencing to protect the Cathedral area. A security camera system is to be installed, as well.
Applications are pending for grants from state and federal agencies to help with the security costs. Deacon Gary is also working with a company that donated its services to help secure funding for items like the fencing and security cameras.
“There is a lot in the works — we take the survey comments very, very seriously,” he says. “As stewards of this treasure, we want to make sure we can provide and care for it the best we can. It is old, and with any 100-plus-year-old building, we are facing a lot of ongoing maintenance and aesthetic challenges on a daily basis.”
A new roof was recently installed to repair the damage caused by last year’s severe storms.
“It was a major undertaking,” Deacon Gary says. “We just finished it with the help of the diocese. We also received insurance coverage for a percentage of the cost.”
As Business Manager and Project Manager, Deacon Gary’s role evolves daily.
“I’m responsible as Business Manager to ensure that parish finances enable us to continue to operate,” he says. “I work with Fr. Michael, the Finance Committee, and the Parish Council to make sure we have the time, talent, and treasure to continue to operate the cathedral.”
The beauty of our cathedral is a point held dearly by Deacon Gary.
“It is in need of precious time and talent, and if anyone can donate services that we pay for now, such as landscaping and cleaning, that is the treasure part of stewardship that we need desperately,” he says. “The cathedral is the seat of the diocese and the seat of our bishop. It is a beautiful treasure we are blessed to steward. Stewardship is essential for ‘thriveability’ and viability.”
To contact Deacon Gary regarding any donations of time, talent, or treasure, please call him at 916-444-3071, ext. 11.