For over 100 years, the Cathedral of the Incarnation has been the symbol of unity for the Roman Catholic Church in the Diocese of Nashville. While it is the principle Church of the Diocese of Nashville, it also functions as a parish. Yet, our ability to provide the desired level of support and ministry to all God’s children is hindered because of lingering debt and the lack of capital funds to make badly needed repairs and updates to preserve our beautiful church.
We are truly blessed to have such beautiful facilities. And it is with gratitude that we acknowledge all those who contributed over the years to make our campus what it is today. St. Albert Hall, constructed with money that was received from a campaign conducted in the mid-1990s, was paid for in full. The Handing on The Tradition campaign, conducted in the early 2000s, was undertaken to construct the Fleming Center and connect campus facilities. The campaign was successful and the parish completed construction and occupied the new Fleming Center in 2004. While some debt remained from the project, the parish planned to pay off the remaining balance over five years. However, the 2008 extreme economic downturn not only caused an exodus of parishioners due to job loss and relocations but many major donors also cancelled their pledge due to financial hardship. Today, the parish pays approximately $30,000 per month toward the outstanding debt.
• The funds used to service this loan payment come from weekly offertory. Debt service on the outstanding loan drains the parish of much needed revenue to support ministries like Room in the Inn as well as facilities maintenance.
• Ministry to urban dwellers, the homeless and the unchurched, go dormant due to the lack of funds to initiate and sustain outreach.
Deterioration of Church Wall and Ceiling Plaster
Our beloved church building, the epicenter of our Catholic faith, also requires some much needed repairs. At present, visible deterioration is eroding the inner beauty of this sacred space.
• Cracking and peeling plaster is visible above the Stations of the Cross and in the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel.
• Soot and black residue stain the vents on surrounding plaster and deface the splendor of our beautiful church.
Our parish rectory is home to the priests that loyally serve our parish and all the people of God. And yet, some of the basic living areas, like the rectory bathrooms, have not been renovated since the 1970s.
• The plumbing is outdated. Leaks are common and cause damage to the floor and walls.
• A downstairs bathroom is unsuitably configured for use by visitors.
• In an age of environmental awareness, fixtures are not up to date for water usage standards.
• Floor and wall tile is cracked and mildewed.
Lack of Endowment/Capital Improvements Fund
We also need to better plan for future or unexpected capital expenditures by creating and funding an Endowment/Capital Improvements Fund. At the present time, the parish does not have capital funds on hand to offset the cost of facility maintenance like plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and preservation/upkeep of the church.
• Our present strategy to address unexpected capital needs is to appeal to parishioners through an “as needed” process of special collections.
• The creation of an Endowment/Capital Improvements Fund would allow us to better manage our maintenance needs without having to defer needed repairs or having to consistently appeal to our parishioners for additional funds.
Deterioration of the Church Organ
Our church organ is also in poor condition. Our parish recently celebrated 100 years of glorious service to the Nashville Catholic community. The organ in the church has been a magnificent part of that history, but the ravages of time have crippled it almost to the point of obsolescence. Like so many splendid old things, there comes a point when the cost to continually repair it outweighs the advantages of holding on to it. Mechanisms of such complexity require meticulous upkeep in order to maintain them.
• Unfortunately, our organ is 100 years old; the pipes and bellows are beyond repair.
• The wind-box that moves air through the pipes is cracked and brittle and unable to be repaired.
• Parts, if we would be able to find them, would be too costly to afford.
Unreliable Church Sound System
Finally, our church sound system, which was installed in 1987 during the last major renovation of the church, is unreliable and needs to be replaced. While the acoustics are excellent in the church, the sound system has become faulty and unsatisfactory for clear sound.
• The sound that resonates in some areas of the church is inaudible.
• Popping and cracking through the sound system regularly interrupts Mass.