As if we did not still have enough to contend with from last year still, time marches on and we have entered the 2018 Hurricane Season. The National Hurricane Center (https://www.nhc.noaa.gov) has predicted that this season will have a higher chance to be a near or above normal level of storms in the Atlantic region.
During this season, we will be executing some significant construction projects on our campus, rain or no rain. The roofs on our church and other buildings will be built to withstand Category 5 winds. Impact-proof glass on the Life Center windows can take a large tree limb striking them at full speed of a hurricane. We all hope and pray that we will not need to test these facilities again in such a real way, but we are preparing for just that.
Saint John had developed a Business Continuity Plan over three years ago when I became General Manager. We have been constantly updating it to identify threats to the Mission Essential Functions of the church, especially Masses and Pastoral Support to the community. We also have codified our response, recovery, and restitution processes for the church campus, taking us through an incident and all the steps needed to get us back up to “normal”. These types of plans seldomly get executed to their full extent, but ours did last September. When Irma barreled towards Naples, our communications, evacuation, and shelter procedures were all followed. We were able to begin Masses on our campus less than a week after the storm. Our procedures allowed us to support the entire County with services from the very beginning of our recovery. They even have continued as we execute our church repairs, with our plan to move to the Ballroom for all Masses and Services going forward. I highly recommend that you all take a look at https://www.ready.gov if you have not put together your own plan for you, your family, your pets, and your home.
Please know your Parish Family is with you through this next Hurricane Season with prayers and support no matter what comes our way. God Bless you and be safe!