Valley Stream parish on a fundraising mission

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“It pained me, and it still pains me, to not have a school,” Dugandzic said. “But it was one of those necessary measures. From a financial perspective, you’ve got to do everything you can with what you’ve got.”

He said he also started looking for ways to boost revenue, and that led to the creation of a family festival, which has been held the past two summers. Last year’s fair netted about $33,000.

But even as finances improved, the debt continued to linger, and there was no room in the budget for repairs. That’s how the idea for a capital campaign came about.

Walters is supportive of the idea, especially because of the partnership with the Mission Assistance Corporation. “If we get our goal, we will not only fix all of the needs of the church, we’ll also be able to get rid of all of the debt,” he said. “The goals are very modest.”

Dugandzic said that $850,000 is not an arbitrary number, but rather is based on a combination of what the church needs and what is attainable. If the money comes in as hoped, he said, the roof and façade repairs could begin this spring. Upgrading the air conditioning system, which dates to the 1970s, will probably have to wait two summers, as it is the most expensive project.

Dugandzic said he hopes the church can exceed $850,000, so it can put a little money away for future building maintenance. Just like anyone who owns a home, he said, there should always be some “rainy day” money.

White is also hopeful that the parish can exceed its goal, and get on a solid financial footing for the future. “It’s not going to be easy, but it’s doable,” he said. “We’re headed in the right direction, but there’s clearly more work to do.”

About Blessed Sacrament

Blessed Sacrament is one of two Roman Catholic churches in Valley Stream. (Holy Name of Mary, on East Jamaica Avenue, is the other.) Blessed Sacrament was established in 1950, and the first masses were held in an old farmhouse and two garages that were converted into a church. Back then, the parish was part of the Diocese of Brooklyn; the Diocese of Rockville Centre had yet to be created.

The first brick church was built in 1953 on Rose Avenue, followed by the school in 1957. The current church, which seats 950, opened in 1963 on McKeon Avenue, named for the founding pastor, the Rev. Andrew McKeon. The parish has had seven pastors in its history.

The last major capital project was undertaken 15 years ago, when the rectory was built and the church’s interior was renovated.

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