Blessed Sacrament School renovations a tribute to a stewardship parish


CHARLESTON — Renovation of the middle school wing at Blessed Sacrament School is scheduled to wrap up in time for the new school year. The $370,000 project included the addition of lighting and security cameras throughout the building and the installation of a new energy-saving air conditioning system.

“Overall the building will be brighter and cooler, both of which create an atmosphere more conducive to learning,” said Sister of St. Cyril and Methodius Judy Therese, principal. “This project will make the school more inviting and will give parents and students an idea of what the school will look like after all the renovations are complete.”

Other renovations will include the complete rebuilding of the kindergarten wing. The current kindergarten area was a former bus garage that was converted into classrooms. That project is expected to begin in January 2006.

Jack McGovern, director of stewardship and development for the parish, said the project — which has included renovations of both church and school — is a dream come true.

“We truly have Father (Joseph) Hanley to thank for this,” McGovern said. “When he came here five years ago the buildings were falling apart, but he has taken it upon himself to see to it that these necessary updates are made.”

McGovern attributes the changes to the pastor’s conversion of Blessed Sacrament into a stewardship parish. The parish no longer holds capital campaigns, but relies on the faithful, weekly giving of parishioners to fund building projects. Parishioners are encouraged to commit their time in the form of prayer for the church and are then asked to give sacrificially as they can.

“Thanks to Father Hanley’s vision, we have taken a leap of faith and have concluded that if God wants these building projects to take place he will provide,” said McGovern. “Up to this point we haven’t had to borrow any money for these projects.”

The design for the building will differ only slightly from its present look in an attempt to stay true to the school’s history.

“We don’t want the school to outgrow some of the older parishioners,” McGovern said. “This is a parish school serving the West Ashley area, nothing more. We don’t want people to think that this isn’t their parish anymore. We also don’t want buildings to stand out and look like an institution because we are located in a residential area.”

“We look forward to what God has in store for us here,” McGovern said “Good things are happening and we have the Lord, the vision of Father Hanley, and the parishioners’ faithful giving to thank for that.”