Below are Featured Foundation Projects from 2020-2021. Click here to see the most recent projects from 2022, including:
New Windows at Byrider Hall
Picnic Tables for Sebastian’s Garden
We Give Catholic/Giving Tuesday
Priest Patio and Prayer Garden
A donation to the Foundation in 2021 from a thoughtful and generous family enabled the creation of a new patio for the priests located between the church and the rectory. The work involved the installation of a cement patio and fencing, the purchase of patio furniture and a fire pit, and the construction of a new doorway to provide direct access to the patio from the passageway between the rectory and the church. The priests now enjoy access to a peaceful, private outdoor space, perfect for quiet prayer, reading or informal gatherings.
Lights, Camera, Action: 2021 #weGiveCatholic
The 2021 #weGiveCatholic campaign focused on raising funds for the “Lights, Camera, Action” effort to complete major upgrades to the audio, visual and lighting systems in Zwisler Hall. The #weGiveCatholic effort brought in more than $21,000 from 100 donors, thanks to the generosity of our community. Since the planned upgrades are very costly, the 2021 #weGiveCatholic donations will be combined with funds raised at the 2022 St. Sebastian Spectacular for the “Lights, Camera, Action” effort. Thank you to everyone who made a #weGiveCatholic donation to get the effort off to a great start! Details of the completed work will be included in the 2022 annual report.
Original Church Bell Tower Repairs
There are two bell towers on our campus: one that soars high above the current church building, and one that rises more modestly above the original church building, now known as Zwisler Hall. The original bell tower was solidly constructed, in part because it once housed the massive bell now located near the school’s flag pole in a grassy area along Mull Avenue. In recent years however, our sturdy original bell tower began to deteriorate, requiring significant repairs to the brick and cement work. Thanks to several generous donations to the Foundation, this work was completed in early 2021.
COVID Support from the Foundation
Classroom AV Equipment Upgrades
Our parish school completed significant upgrades to its classroom audio-visual equipment in the fall of 2020, thanks to funding from the Helen Barry Hamlin Library Fund of the St. Sebastian Parish Foundation. Money from the Hamlin Library Fund was used to purchase BEAM audio devices (small, portable sound bars enabled with Bluetooth® technology) and XD microphones for each teacher, enabling students to clearly hear their teacher’s voice in both the classroom and the online learning setting. The Hamlin Library Fund also paid for the purchase of new HoverCam document cameras for each classroom to replace outdated cameras. These devices can record lessons and are compatible with video conferencing programs such as Zoom Video Conferencing and Google Meet. The new equipment provided significant and timely improvements for the learning environment for all of our students, especially those who chose the school’s online learning option.
Broadcasting System Established
The St. Gabriel Fund was created at the St. Sebastian Parish Foundation to support the live-streaming, recording and broadcasting efforts of St. Sebastian Parish, including the purchase of equipment (cameras, controllers, cables, software, etc.) and licensing fees. Initiated in 2020 during the pandemic, the St. Gabriel Fund provided crucial funding for the establishment of the parish’s broadcasting systems, which helped the parish stay connected and minister to its parishioners despite the inability to gather as a community. The fund also provides ongoing support for maintenance and upgrades to the broadcasting systems. The fund was named after St. Gabriel, the Archangel, who serves as a messenger for God and is the patron saint of messengers, telecommunication workers, and postal workers. It was St. Gabriel who “broadcasted” to Mary that she would become the mother of the Son of God. Pictured here, junior high students operate the live-streaming equipment during the Stations of the Cross.
Chalk the Walk: 2020 #weGiveCatholic
The St. Sebastian Parish Foundation is pleased to announce that project work is complete for the “Chalk the Walk” campaign. This campaign’s goal was to raise funds to restore the historic sandstone walkways around the parish school, which date back to the late 1920s when the school building was constructed. The effort kicked off Dec. 1, 2020, in coordination with the Diocese of Cleveland’s #weGiveCatholic fundraising effort on Giving Tuesday.
The parish school’s students also helped with the campaign by decorating the sandstone walkways with messages written in chalk and by starring in special video messages for the project. The videos are posted on the parish’s YouTube channel under the “Special Features” playlist (www.youtube.com/StSebastianParish/playlists). As a result of all these efforts, the Foundation raised $15,000 from the support of 67 generous donors! This spring, the beautiful, original sandstone walkways around our school and rectory were repaired and restored. As you can see in the “after” picture below, Fr. Valencheck’s dog, Chester, enjoys walking along the newly restored sandstone walkways.
STUDENTS "CHALK THE WALK" WITH MESSAGES OF SUPPORT
Padre Pio Chapel
The Padre Pio Chapel was dedicated and blessed on September 20, 2020. The chapel is in the back of the church, in the corner room that previously served as the baptistery and most recently served as the Fr. John McDonough Library. Generous donors provided the funding, so that in 2019 the McDonough Library was moved to a new and wonderfully renovated space in the server’s sacristy. These same generous donors converted and furnished the room into a beautiful chapel that serves as a place for prayer and reflection as well as an accessible confessional. Also funded by Foundation donors are the protective frames and paintings displayed in the chapel.
Rose Window Restoration
The Foundation was pleased to assist the parish in the repair of our cherished rose window. The rose window, an inspiringly beautiful and colorful work of art, was once located on the wall above the sanctuary in the “old church,” now known as Zwisler Hall. The window was moved to its current location over the entrance to the Zwisler Hall after the hall underwent a major renovation in 2004. In 2020, the rose window was removed and completely restored to its original structure with each window pane receiving special attention and care. Each individual window pane’s frame was rebuilt and reinforced so that the entire rose window maintained its structure, shape and design. In honor of the parish’s 90th Anniversary, special sun catchers of this beautiful design were created.