St. Peter Church aims to hit $6 million fundraising goal next month, start building cafeteria in fall

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QUINCY — With about one more month remaining, St. Peter Church is more than halfway to its fundraising goal for a capital campaign to build a school cafeteria.

Monsignor Leo Enlow said last week the church has raised about $3.5 million since fundraising for the “Upon This Rock: The Campaign to Build in Faith at St. Peter” campaign began in mid-January. The Steier Group, a professional services firm that specializes in helping Catholic parishes facilitate capital campaigns, estimated the church could raise between $5 million and $6 million.

If the church reaches its fundraising goal, Enlow says he hopes construction will begin in the fall and the cafeteria will be available for use for the 2025-26 school year.

“I have to get all the necessary permissions from the bishop,” Enlow said. “We have to get all the plans approved. I’m hoping if push comes to shove, hopefully we’ll start by the fall, because the construction costs … hopefully things will go down a little bit. It’s almost going to be a $10 million project.

“We have $3 million invested, which is marvelous for the people here. I’m willing to commit $2 million toward this project. I don’t want to drain all our funds. If we raise $6 million, that gets us to $8 million, and I think we can do it.”

A donor who wishes not to be identified has offered a two-part challenge that could raise another $1 million toward the $6 million goal.

First, the church could receive up to $500,000 through the donor’s match of new gifts. All amounts above $1,000 are matched at 50 percent, with a cap of $500,000. Second, the donor also pledges up to $500,000 on the number of households making a gift of $300 or more. The gift increases as higher participation levels are reached:

  • 200 donors would be matched with $100,000.
  • 300 donors would be matched with $200,000.
  • 400 donors would be matched with $350,000.
  • 500 donors would be matched with $500,000.

The church members were surveyed last year about other options, including construction of a gymnasium, a parish center and a fine arts facility. 

“All of those things are needed here in Quincy,” Enlow said.

An artist’s rendering of the cafeteria to be built between the K-6 building and Seton Hall, which houses students in grades 7-8. | Photo courtesy of St. Peter Church and Klingner and Associates

The cafeteria will be built between the existing school for students in grades K-6 and Seton Hall, which houses students in grades 7-8. Today’s students must leave their respective buildings and go outside to get to the lunchroom in the basement of the church — which Enlow says creates security risks.

The church’s funeral dinners ministry uses the gymnasium for a makeshift parish center when dinners are served after a funeral. Students can’t use the gymnasium for physical education classes, and yet another security risk is created.

“People are simply walking into and out of the gym (inside the K-6 building) when the ministry is hosting a lunch,” Enlow said.

Once the new cafeteria is built, students in Seton Hall will go through an elevated walkway to get to second floor. The lunchroom in the basement of the church will be converted into a parish center.

“The funeral dinners is one of our greatest ministries we have here,” Enlow said. “We have people bringing in food, and the people who are suffering from the death are so grateful, so appreciative. We meet them where they’re at, and they don’t have to worry about it.”

Enlow also said the new building is needed because more than 75 children were registered for kindergarten classes this year at St. Peter.

“We ran out of space,” Enlow said.

The third kindergarten room was established in a room once used for the school library. The construction of the cafeteria is likely to lead to the addition of more classrooms in the future.

“Each year, we have to have another expansion plan,” Enlow said. “People are attracted to St. Peter, at least many of them say, is the green space. We do have green space for the kids, and they like that we’re next door to (Madison) park.”

The recently formed Quincy Catholic Elementary Schools is not supporting the campaign. A “frequently asked questions” document on the St. Peter website says the QCES is developing a strategic plan for all four Quincy Catholic schools.

“St. Peter will be a part of that plan, but to what extent is unclear at this time,” the document said. “What is clear is St. Peter needs a new cafeteria, a parish center and additional classrooms, regardless of the QCES plan. … Leaders constantly make decisions absent complete information, and without a definitive plan from QCES and no timetable to have a plan, parish leadership has decided to move forward with necessary and overdue projects.”

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