Hurricane Irma: Status Update October 6

Sunday, September 10

We want to provide a constant update for our Parish Family on the status of our church during Hurricane Irma’s impact.  The weather is currently deteriorating around our campus, and so we pray that everyone is safe and in a protected area.  We will continue to update our website (and other communications) as best we can during and after this event.  God bless and protect all of you and all you love.

10 AM


Monday, September 11

Due to the localized flooding, damage of trees and other debris, and the loss of power, the offices of Saint John the Evangelist will be closed until Monday, September 18.  Our Daily Masses will resume on Thursday, September 14 on our campus.  We hope our Parish Family and everyone here in Naples is safe and stays safe through the recovery efforts.  God Bless you all.

Here are the current updates of the damage to Saint John the Evangelist, which includes parking lot issues that require all of our Parish Family to stay out of the campus.  However, we are very blessed as it looks like only the Church roof failure and a leak in the Parish Activity Center Ballroom are our only major issues.  God has truly blessed us:

Tuesday, September 12

Today was a full onsite assessment by the Diocese here at Saint John.  The Bishop, along with the Director of Facilities for the Diocese, evaluated our site with our staff.  They saw the particular damage to the roof of the church and stated we are not in the worst shape but we have weathered this storm well.  We will have the Diocesan adjuster on campus tomorrow to finalize our situation and the support we will get for our repairs. 

Wednesday, September 13

Today was a full-force cleaning and recovery effort to ensure our Parish Family could celebrate Mass starting tomorrow.  We cleaned up the front lot, the Memorial Garden, and the parking areas as best we could.  Further investigations with our staff found that the church roof sustained significant damage, and there was some serious water intrusion from the storm.  We are blessed that our roofing contractor, Crowther Roofing, was able to prioritize our church and we were able to get basic repairs underway.  However, without power, the church and Parish Activity Center are not usable.  We are waiting on FPL to finish the repairs to our power before we can open the church building.  Instead, tomorrow’s Mass will be held in the Claussen Center Seminar Room.  Father John assisted in setting up for Mass and we look forward to seeing you all at 8:30 AM.

Thursday, September 14

Our blessings continue.  We still do not have power for the campus, so we held Daily Mass in the Claussen Center Seminar Room this morning.  Father Paul celebrated with about 50 members of our Parish Family, and we lit the Sanctuary Lamp in the church when the Blessed Sacrament was placed back in the Tabernacle.  The roof has been patched and we are awaiting the engineering assessment once the power is restored.

Friday, September 15

Daily Mass continued today with Father John.  He announced to our Parish Family that we will indeed be having all our weekend Masses at their normal time within the church.  We are currently waiting for the carpet and upholstery cleaner for the church.

Saturday, September 16

Our weekend Masses resumed at 3 PM today with Father John celebrating Mass, describing how we are going to weather the storms of the future together as a Parish Family.  It was hot due to the continued loss of power to our campus, but it was wonderful to be together again.  We will have water after each Mass, as well as ensuring everyone can safely arrive and leave our campus.

Sunday, September 17

Masses continued this morning, and we had two special guests, our Saint John Bald Eagle and Bishop Dewane.  Both helped boost out spirits, since we are still without power on our campus.  All activities are cancelled on campus until our power is restored, and that includes our offices and all meetings.  Power is being attempted to be restored to our campus.  We are all praying!

Monday, September 18

Just when our hopes began for power restoration, we were met with a dark church this morning for Daily Mass.  It did not deter us in the slightest, as the Saint John staff met first to discuss the status of our operations.  We will continue to cancel all events and activities on the campus until power is restored and proper cleanup is accomplished.   Father John gave a brief Homily at the Mass and we all went to work on the first day of our Donation Center for Immokalee here at Saint John.  Please bring any non-perishable items to the church from 9 AM to 3 PM every day and we will get the donations to Immokalee for the Guadalupe Center and Guadalupe Social Services.  The staff got to work on clearing the Prayer Garden so that once power is restored, we can have our beautiful contemplative space back for the Parish Family.

Tuesday, September 19

Today showcased the best of Saint John.  We worked with our Diocese of Venice insurance adjusters to find the damage and issues that we will face in the near-term and how we will move forward positively for our campus.  The volunteers we put together, lead by our Knights of Columbus Council 11281, gathered a tremendous set of donations for Immokalee.  Our staff were able to get an entire pallet of water to deliver to Guadalupe Social Services, so we made two separate trips out so we could make sure all the gifts of our Parish Family and our area were able to get to those that need it most.  Another group brought diapers and wipes to Saint Peter the Apostle, which is acting as a Donation Distribution Center from Catholic Charities for the Golden Gate area.  God Bless all that have given of their time, talent, and treasure!

Wednesday, September 20

What another amazing day for our Parish Family.  We have identified another major need in the local area in East Naples.  Saint Peter is another major distribution center for Catholic Charities, and they have urgent needs for food, water, diapers, and other non-perishables.  At the same time, the Lee County Catholic Charities location at Saint Leo’s Catholic Church has a huge amount of water and food that have been delivered but could not be distributed.  We were able to capitalize with our box truck and vans and were able to distribute pallets of food and water throughout the area.  We were able to serve both East Naples and Immokalee all in the same day with truckloads of needed food, water, and items.  It was exhausting, but a massive service to the community.  Thank you to all our volunteers and everyone who gave to our church to make sure we could live out our mission to serve our community!

Additionally, we had our SJE drone take brand new pictures of our church roof for our insurance adjusters, and it showcases some of the damage we will be dealing with in the next few months as a new roof may be in our future.  We also surveyed our Life Center construction, and it is moving forward full swing!

Thursday, September 21

We have power!  FPL arrived on campus early this morning and we watched 5 separate projects going on simultaneously at Saint John all day long.  We continued to support East Naples and Immokalee via our donation center.  The power company replaced the power pole and reattached our systems.  Our tree removal began.  Our front parking lot started to take shape with new asphalt being laid.  And, we became the donation center of water and ice for Naples Park.  It is amazing to me that our Parish Family came together to serve so many in this time of need.  We now are going to kick-start our recovery.

Friday, September 22

With power restored yesterday evening, we welcomed the NET Missionaries at Daily Mass this morning, along with our Bald Eagle mascot, who again decided to join in our Parish Staff Meeting in the parking lot.  We will be establishing a temporary front office in the Narthex on Monday, to assist with essential, sacramental, and pastoral functions as the PAC and CFC undergo complete repairs over the next few weeks.  Our Life Center construction camera is live again, so you can see the progress we are making on all fronts!

Masses this weekend will be normal, and we will continue to accept donations from 9 AM to 3 PM each day in front of the church.

Saturday, September 23

We have continued with our Donation Collection Center here at Saint John, with volunteers coming from all of our Parish Family.  A special thanks needs to be given to the Knights of Columbus, who have manned our Center every hour it has been open.  Our recovery efforts for the Parish Activity Center and Claussen Center also kicked into gear, with humidification machines and scrubbers.  We were able to make water and food runs to Immokalee and a diaper run to East Naples, so please keep the donatioans coming!

Sunday, September 24

Today was an interesting day, to be sure.  We lost 2 transformers on our campus in the middle of our 7 AM Mass, just as the story of Saint John’s efforts this past week made the front page of the Naples Daily News.  We continued on with a van load of diapers and wipes to East Naples and filled up the Narthex for our trip tomorrow to Immokalee, as well as put items aside for the Saint Vincent DePaul Society so they can rebuild their stores and deliver necessary items to everyone in the area.  Power was restored during our 5 PM Mass!

Monday, September 25

Another day of service to our community.  In fact, today we took the reigns from FEMA, who was not able to provide food to both North Naples and East Naples today.  We redirected our water and food from our Parish Family to East Naples when the Catholic Charities staff informed us that they were not getting their planned delivery from FEMA.  We also provided two pallets of Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s) to Naples Park Elementary School, who are serving the community of families whose children went back to school today.  We also received the first delivery of our Life Center!  Great day to be at Saint John.  Our offices have moved to the church building for the week, and will be open from 10 AM to 2 PM.  Happy Birthday to Knight of Columbus Bill Warvel, who turned 70 today and was still gathering donations all day long!

Tuesday, September 26

We continue the support to both Immokalee and East Naples today with donated pallets of water from the Ritz Carlton and diapers from our Parish Family, including adult sizes needed to support an over 55 community recently found in desperate need.  All other donations we had nearly filled an entire semi truck from Saint Vincent DePaul Society and will go to restock their stores around the area.  Additionally, we kicked our restoration into gear with and entire army of ServPro staff went to work on our campus to restore the health of our buildings.  Our Life Center is also continuing to take shape.  Every day is showcasing the Saint John that lives out it mission!

Wednesday, September 27

The donations continue to flow into Saint John from our generous Parish Family and community.  Four more pallets of water were delivered to Guadalupe Social Services in Immokalee (thanks to the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort for donating 3 full pallets of water, over 7,000 bottles), as well as another van load of diapers and wipes to East Naples.  On campus, our recovery efforts continue in the Parish Activity Center and Claussen Center, while the Life Center continues to move forward.  This weekend will be the end of our Donation Center, as the needs are being covered in the short term.  We will utilize new long-term programs to support those displaced.

Thursday, September 28

Further progress on the recovery effort for our Ballroom continued, and our Donation Center received wonderful clothes, diapers, and other items that were sent to Saint Vincent DePaul Society.  We will be continuing our Donations during the weekend Masses.

Monday, October 2

We are working as long and as hard as possible to ensure all our facilities are ready as quickly as possible.  The damage from Hurricane Irma was extensive, and our restoration is progressing quickly.  We have 17 restoration specialists working 7 days a week on all our buildings.  They were able to clean our church and make sure it was ready almost immediately after power was restored, but that does not include the roof and broken Air Conditioning systems that will need to be replaced, nor the doors to the church.  The Parish Activity Center and Claussen Center are being cleaned and repaired these next weeks.  Thankfully, since we did not sustain any damage to the Life Center construction zone, that work continues on schedule.  The damage to our grounds was also extensive, with significant lighting and tree destruction.  The new lights in the front parking lot were repaired quickly and now are lighting the way to our church.  We will continue to keep you updated on all our progress on our website, so please check back frequently for the latest information.

October 6

Cleanup continues across the grounds and buildings of Saint John.  The rooms of the Parish Activity Center and Claussen Center are being cleaned.  The roof of the church has been patched, but the skylight above the altar is compromised and will need to be removed as part of the new roofing project we will be starting.  The cross on the bell tower was also compromised by the wind of the storm, so it needed to be removed and repaired.  Tree removal also began on campus.  We lost a majority of our non-palm trees, including the beautiful Roman Pines in the Prayer Garden.

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