Local

Parishioners’ generosity paves way for growth at Andover parish

byChristine Williams
9/22/2006

The pastor of St. Robert Bellermine Parish in Andover, Father Richard T. Conway presents Chancellor James P. McDonough with a check paying off the 10 remaining years of his church’s mortgage at the chancery in Brighton Sept. 14. Joining him in making the presentation were St. Robert’s finance committee member Dick Ogden and business manager Irene Bonner. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy

BRIGHTON -- The generosity of Andover parishioners has allowed their parish to take a step forward in its plans for future growth.

On Sept. 14 Father Richard T. Conway, pastor of St. Robert Bellermine Parish in Andover and parish representatives presented Chancellor James P. McDonough with a check paying off the 10 remaining years of the church’s mortgage. The parish raised the money in only a matter of months.

Father Conway said he sent parishioners a letter in July this year, asking them to help pay off the mortgage for the future of the parish.

“I just wanted that out of the way so that we can look at the future without having to worry about it,” he said. “We’re growing. We’re developing. There’s all sorts of things happening here.”

Before paying off the debt, St. Robert’s had been making mortgage payments for the last 40 years. Now, the parish community will have more freedom to plan and expand, he said.

McDonough said that the archdiocese is grateful that St. Robert’s has fulfilled its loan obligation earlier than planned.

“This will give us additional funds that are sorely needed to assist other parishes within the archdiocese that are committed to furthering the mission of the Church,” he said. “The parish is to be commended for its leadership under Father Conway and its fiscal discipline in order for this to happen.”

Father Conway, who was assigned to the parish in 2001, said the parish community is “amazing” and that everyone responded by giving what they could.

The community has come together through difficulties faced in recent years, including the deaths of parishioners, the sex abuse scandal and the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, he added.

“A lot has happened in the last five years,” he said. “I think we’ve come out on the good side of it.”