As is the case when any great work is undertaken for the Lord, progress towards construction is proceeding at God's pace not ours. During these past months of silence on this blog, great strides have been made on multiple fronts.
When we last wrote, we shared with you the critical work that had begun by the monks to review thoroughly the design in consideration particularly of size and proportions. With the monks' great concern for maintaining monastic poverty and ensuring that the design is in accord with their charism, the review and revisions of the design have been completed by the Fathers and Brothers and are currently being reviewed by our Foundation and the diocesan bishop. We hope to post the revised design in the upcoming months as soon as this phase of careful discernment is completed.
In the meantime, the beautiful weather of summer and your generosity allowed the monks to nearly complete the much needed upgrade to an all weather gravel road to the building site. Thanks be to God the monks were able to improve the road themselves without hiring outside help, saving the Foundation a tremendous amount of money.
In early September, the Foundation Board had the great privilege of sitting with Bishop Etienne to inform him of our progress on these many fronts. The Bishop's enthusiasm for this project and gratitude for your support cannot be overstated. In his great wisdom and in accord with our responsibility to be good stewards, we presently are working to establish a reasonable project budget. The Bishop has asked us to raise 100% of the funding for Phase 1 prior to the beginning of construction.
As the monastic community continues to grow and form their novices, their need to be established at the new property becomes more imperative by the day. Accordingly, we have proposed with the Bishop's approval that Phase 1 consist of the construction of the refectory building, which contains the dining area, kitchen, shower and bathroom facilities, library, and a make-shift chapel. Upon completion of this building, the Fathers and Brothers will be able to move to the new property and utilize temporary structures for their monastic cells or bedrooms until funding permits further construction. In all honesty, your generosity has the power to determine the scope of construction completed in the near future. The more funds we have available to us, the quicker the monastery will be built.
Presently the New Mount Carmel Foundation has saved approximately two million dollars and earlier in the year received a $1.2 million dollar matching pledge towards the realization of Phase 1. Friends, we are very close to actually having 100% of the cost estimated for Phase 1 if we could only get the matching pledge filled. Having received a few generous contributions of late, we have raised approximately a quarter of the $1.2 million necessary. Please be as generous as you can at this time.
Your much needed charity is precious in the eyes of the Lord and the Holy Virgin! On behalf of Bishop Etienne, Fr Daniel Mary, and all the monks, we thank you for your goodness as we look forward to beginning this next step of construction! God love you.