In 1997 we celebrated the 200th anniversary of our founding. The parish had over 2,500 registered families and average Sunday mass attendance of 2,800.
The church and hall built in 1965 was not intended to be our permanent church. Folding chairs were set up on weekends behind the pews to provide additional seating and parishioners had to stand in the back at some Masses. St Joseph school was at capacity. The parish did not have enough meeting space and we were renting office space across Mission Blvd for parish ministries. We were bursting at the seams!
In 1998 the parish began a facility planning process with representatives from parish ministries and the school, followed the next year with two town hall meetings all parishioners were invited to attend. These meetings identified the following facility goals:
The drawing below shows our 1999 master facilities plan.
Map of 1999 Parish Master Plan
Since 1999 we have:
Changes to the Parish Master Plan
Our parish master facilities plan is not “fixed in stone” and changes as our circumstances change. For example:
Another example is the vacant land behind the Ministry Houses. The future use of this property for a new gymnasium as envisioned in the 1999 master plan may change. By renovating the carriage house for office and meeting space we can repurpose our current worship space for an expanded gym and parish hall.
As a possible source of additional funds to build our new parish church, in June 2020 the parish submitted a preliminary application to the city for the property behind the Ministry Houses to explore its potential for new home development. We withdraw our application before it was considered by the city. We may decide to explore this idea again, or we may stay with the 1999 master plan’s vision for this land as a future sports field for school and parish use.
The parish facilities team will continue to update the parish master plan to reflect our current and future space needs and the maintenance needs of our buildings and grounds, including the school, mission church, and the mission museum. We have two current areas of focus:
Our buildings and grounds are places where prayer and healing, faith formation, works of charity and mercy, and fellowship among parishioners are supported. They are also visible signs of our faith and presence to Fremont and the Bay Area. We will beautify and upgrade our existing facilities.
Our parish facilities are aging, and some require significant repairs. We will renovate the carriage house, upgrade the existing church and hall to provide a better worship environment, and address other parish maintenance needs.
Until our new church is built, our existing church will remain our primary worship space. We will upgrade and beautify the church with new lighting, replace the outdated furnaces, and add air conditioning to improve comfort and provide better ventilation to address Covid 19 concerns.
The Diocese completed a facilities condition assessment of our buildings and grounds in 2013. Our facilities were generally found to be in good condition, except for the carriage house, which was identified as needing major repair, and damage at the Mission Museum from leaking windows and rain gutters. The Diocesan assessment recommended over $1.4 million in repairs and preventive maintenance for our parish facilities. This total excluded the carriage house. As our facilities age, our repair and maintenance needs will increase.
The parish facilities team will create and oversee a comprehensive, multi-year maintenance plan for our parish facilities.
The carriage house has been designated by the city as a primary historic resource and would be difficult to demolish. It is underutilized, in bad shape and needs immediate repair. The parish office’s space is inefficient and outdated and our parish community needs more meeting and gathering space. We will renovate the carriage house to meet our needs.
For example, we will use it for Sunday Faith Formation Ministry and hospitality on Sundays. Our parishioners, parents, and students can meet there without having to stand in the parking lot or hurry home before the next Mass. Our school students and parents can use it for meetings and retreats. All parish ministries and organizations will have access to it. The second floor will become the new parish office. The renovated carriage house will become “St Joseph’s Workshop,” a home for all of us, just like where Mary, Jesus, and Joseph lived and worked.
The project for our new church has not been abandoned. The funds raised for the new church have been set aside and will not be used for other projects. We will continue to work on the remaining issues. At the same time, we must reverse the decline parish membership and engagement.
At this moment we do not have enough people attending Sunday Mass to fill the first half of the current church. Like many other parishes, we have experienced a severe decline in people attending Mass. Since 1999, our Sunday attendance has decreased from 3000 people to 1000 (pre-pandemic) to 450 in May 20021. We cannot justify building a new church until we have increased our community enough to fill it! That is why we are focusing on rebuilding our community so the need for a new church will become relevant and financially plausible.
Click here for more information about our new church project.
Funding For Our Facilities
Where will we get the money to improve our current church, remodel the carriage house, maintain our other facilities, and build a new church? This is an important question, and it deserves serious reflection and discernment.
Many of the beautification projects in and around the church have been paid for by generous donors at no cost to the parish. We have non-church project savings we can use. And we will take advantage of programs such as PG&E’s lighting efficiency retrofit program, which is funding the lighting retrofit for the school, and grant funding, which is helping to pay for the playground renovation.
We will also need your prayers and financial sacrifices to make these projects realities. We believe in the generosity of God and His people!
The Lord has entrusted to us many talents, and He asks us to multiply them. We will be good stewards and put our talents, time, and treasure to good use. We are making an investment in our parish facilities for you, your families, our students and children, and our community. Together with focusing on the sacredness, beauty, and spiritual values of the Liturgy and Sacraments, especially the Holy Mass, we hope to bring about life-changing encounters with the Lord, who ultimately builds up His Church. We believe this is the right path that leads to parish growth and an exciting future for our St. Joseph community.