Letter to the Editor: The real story of St. Catherine building project

Mr. Fuller, In your recent letter to the editor (last paragraph) you say, “I am truly sorry that I was not able to get this project done.” John, that project was never yours. It was never your job to get the project done. It was our job! That’s how the Catholic Church is suppose to work. It’s a Body of cooperation with many parts so that everybody gets to participate. But you made that project yours, not ours. Even though it was never meant to be yours. After all, John, you didn’t own the land.

You didn’t start the project. You didn’t even come up with the idea. You just showed up after some time and took over. I remember walking up to you after Sunday Mass one time and asking you, “Are you going to allow open bidding on the General Contractors job?” You said to me, “No, I already have my guy.” I asked you who that was. You told me his name. A qualified person but an inside person. A cherry pick in my opinion. Not someone who had done a bid with all the numbers included such as materials, labor, subcontracting etc. with a bottom line cost the folks at the Parish could evaluate.

This was to be a fairly big job with several million dollars at stake. But open bidding wasn’t going to happen on your watch. You were in charge and that was not part of your plan.

However, open competitive bidding is the normal Catholic way. It is also the transparent way. The Church requires that by it’s own laws. So, I knew that day when we talked that the building project would never ever happen.

In my opinion your decision to personally pick the General Contractor would doom the project. In fact that decision meant that St. Catherine’s had no bids to show Catholic Foundations like the Valley Foundation that we were serious and professional in our approach to this project. When they came to us and realized that we had no Contractor bids to show them, they walked away from our project.

That’s the real story of our building project.

Father Anthony came years later after your decision was made. He just picked up the pieces of a committee mess. Twenty years of fund raising. Twenty years of spending. (30% of the total raised). By the way what was the $108,000.00 in construction costs for? We never broke ground. This project was laity-driven from the beginning.

The Committee to build this project was always led by lay people. I served on the committee when it was first established and then resigned five years later because as a lawyer I could not be part of a committee process which resisted open bidding.

In the Body of Christ nobody should ever get to do whatever they want. There is always a price to be paid for that. The Natural Law sees to that.

Now as regards our souls, John, I want you to know that from my perspective you are always welcome at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church. It’s a great place! Father Anthony is doing a wonderful job with our church’s divine renovation project. And our Bishop is a great bishop.

– Tom Greerty, long time parishioner

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