SAVE THE DATE: December 14th, 2019, Bethlehem Farm Benefit in Chicago

SAVE THE DATE: December 14th, 2019, Bethlehem Farm Benefit in Chicago

Please mark your calendars for our annual celebration/fundraiser at our winter benefit in Chicago on December 14th!! 

5:30pm: Vigil Mass for the 3rd Sunday in Advent
7-10pm: Event

Will include complimentary food and drink, great conversations, a short program of speakers, a silent auction, and raffle.

More information will be posted later.

Meet others with similar passions and interests.
Bid on beautiful quilts that make unique Christmas gifts.
Take home some one-of-a-kind artwork.
Enjoy hearing about the past year at the Farm and future plans.
Laugh along with students sharing the impact of their Bethlehem Farm experience.
See highlights from our low-income hoe repair sites.
Enjoy a beautiful space provided by close partner, St. Ignatius College Prep

July 7-13, 2019, High School Week

July 7-13, 2019, High School Week: St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City), Loyola Blakefield (MD), Geurin HS (Noblesville, IN)

Thanks to the groups from St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City), Loyola Blakefield (MD), and Geurin HS (Noblesville, IN)Β for a great week of service-immersion in the Gospel cornerstones.

Making a difference serving with Missy, Teshla, the Clark family, Wellspring of Greenbrier, Sprouting Farms, Home Crew, and Farm Crew (constructing San Damiano, repairing the water-damaged driveway, and planting and harvesting the garden).

Thanks to these students and their group leaders Steve Morrill, Adelaide, Robin, James, Lauren LaCoy, and Luke Hoefer for their servant hearts.

Thanks also to our Summer Servants for the week: Marty Nocchi, Kevin Truong, Alexandra Sinner, Claire Sofronas, Jake Harper, Frances Rafferty, Molly Sutter, Mea St. Amour, Patrick McGinnis, Jack Lampton, Anna Beeman, Charlie Smith, Bonnie Nickander, Laren Cobb, and Jackie Myers. And thanks to special guests, the Martins Family, missionaries to the Diocese of Green Bay through the Family Missions Company, who were staying with us for a few days after being introduced by our friend, Julie Engel.

Caretakers and Summer Servants

San Damiano Center for Sustainability: Framing in progress, Part V

San Damiano Center for Sustainability:
Framing in Progress, Part V

by Eric Fitts, Director

Framing continued with help provided by Summer Servants and volunteers from St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City), Loyola Blakefield (MD), and Geurin HS (Noblesville, IN).

We completed framing the south gable wall with an awesome effort by Farm Crew to raise the center section, which somehow YouTube failed to get on film πŸ˜‰ We also completed the first course of sheathing on both gable walls. After a heroic run to Hurricane by Will and Justin (on a reunion tour, as Justin was visiting this week) to pick up the last bundle of materials, we also were able to begin setting roof columns and roof headers, as we prep for rafters. The livestock shed began to take shape as we set the ledger boards to hang the shed roof rafters on and measured, cut, and set the columns.

south gable wall begins
south gable wall complete
first course of sheathing across the north gable
Jake, Kevin, and Charlie
Roof columns and headers begin
first course of sheathing complete on north and south gables
and ledger board installed for livestock shed
Roof column raised for ridgepole
Columns raised for livestock shed
Roof columns and headers take shape

“Rebuild My Church” Capital Campaign

San Damiano Center for Sustainability: Framing in progress, Part IV

San Damiano Center for Sustainability:
Framing in Progress, Part IV

by Eric Fitts, Director

Framing continued with help provided by Summer Servants and volunteers, including groups from St. Mary of the Woods (Chicago), Fr. Ryan HS (Nashville), and John Paul II HS (Hendersonville, TN).

We completed the east wall sheathing, framed in the loft stairs, completed the north gable wall, and began framing the south gable wall, all while dodging thunderstorms πŸ™‚

“Rebuild My Church” Capital Campaign

June 30-July 6, 2019, High School Week

June 30-July 6, 2019, High School Week: St. Mary of the Woods (Chicago), Fr. Ryan HS (Nashville), & John Paul II HS (Hendersonville, TN)

Thanks to the groups from St. Mary of the Woods (Chicago), Fr. Ryan HS (Nashville), and John Paul II HS (Hendersonville, TN) for a great week.

Making a difference serving with Melissa, Teshla, the Clark family, Farmer Rhonda, Home Crew, and Farm Crew (constructing San Damiano and planting and harvesting the garden).

Thanks to these students and their group leaders Amanda, Parvin, Erin, Brent, Neelie, Bryan, and Megan for their servant hearts.

Thanks also to our Summer Servants for the week: Marty Nocchi, Kevin Truong, Alexandra Sinner, Claire Sofronas, Jake Harper, Frances Rafferty, Molly Sutter, Mea St. Amour, Patrick McGinnis, Jack Lampton, and Anna Beeman. And thanks to special guest Nick Cochran, a Diocesan seminarian working with Fr. Arthur Bufogle this summer who was able to spend the week with us.

John Paul II HS, Hendersonville, TN
St. Mary of the Woods, Chicago, IL
Fr. Ryan HS, Nashville, TN
Caretakers and Summer Servants

San Damiano Center for Sustainability: Framing in progress, Part III

San Damiano Center for Sustainability:
Framing in Progress, Part III

by Eric Fitts, Director

A shortened ordinary week meant only three days on site, but we had the loft floor decking complete by Tuesday at lunch, north wall blocking finished by the end of the day, first floor north wall sheathing complete on Wednesday, and first floor south and west wall sheathing complete on Thursday, so we made the most of the little time we had and were rewarded with progress that was visually apparent.

This week’s crew included Kevin Truong, Jake Harper, Grace Pallissard, Claire Sofronas, and newest Caretaker Gemma Stanton, with an afternoon cameo from Lindsey Meyer on her last week here.

In the next couple weeks, we’ll have groups from Nashville, Chicago, Towson, Jersey City, and Indiana who will be helping sheath the east wall, frame out the loft stairs, frame the north and south gable walls, and begin on posts for the livestock shed as well as rafter posts and headers, followed by roof rafters.

loft floor decking is complete after less than two days of work!
a new Summer Servant is on the scene
North wall sheathing begins on June 26th
The foreman in action
North wall sheathing completed in one day!
With some extra help from Lindsey, who also helped set anchor bolts in the foundation a few weeks back.
The interior begins to take shape.
South and west wall sheathing completed on June 27th.
Picnic shelter/educational area/garden produce processing station begins to take shape.
And the east wall begins…
Grace has been a workhorse on the project–we’ll miss you!

“Rebuild My Church” Capital Campaign

San Damiano Center for Sustainability: Framing in progress, Part II

San Damiano Center for Sustainability:
Framing in Progress, Part II

by Eric Fitts, Director

When we last left off, we were in the midst of installing headers and just beginning to get a few joists in. Up until this point, primarily Caretakers and Summer Servants had worked on site, as the detail work and post placement did not lend itself well to large groups. Last Friday, Kevin asked when we were going to get a crew of participants for a group week. I had not really given that enough thought until that moment, especially since our home repair waiting list is so long that I wanted most of our energy focused outward. Then Will and I talked it over and decided to break the group into 6 crews instead of 5, so everyone could be happy. A sixth work crew can be difficult to manage the transportation, but the Farm Crew walks 25 yards to work each morning, so that made it even easier.

During this group week, we installed the remaining loft floor headers, hoisted all the joists into place, nailed in most of the joists, completed the blocking on the rim joists, and laid 4/5 of the 3/4″ Advantech for the loft floor decking–quick and sure progress!

One evening, as I was installing a few more blocks before supper, I came to my last block and climbed a ladder that had been off to the side most of the day. On the top rung, there sat a toad or frog of some sort, blue and green. He or she did not flinch as I air-nailed that last block, allowed Clare to come close to say hi, and allowed me to snap the photo below. We figure it was St. Francis or St. Clare smiling on our project πŸ˜‰

Many thanks to everyone who has donated time, talent, and treasure to bring us this far!

Next up…complete the loft floor and begin sheathing the first floor walls.

“Rebuild My Church” Capital Campaign

June 16-22, 2019, High School Week

June 16-22, 2019, High School Week: Cristo Rey Chicago, Ursuline (MA), Ursuline (New Orleans), & Our Lady of Grace (IN)

Thanks to the groups from Cristo Rey Chicago, Ursuline (MA), Ursuline (New Orleans) and Our Lady of Grace (IN) for a great week.

Making a difference serving with Melissa, Teshla, Wellspring, Farmer Rhonda, Home Crew, and Farm Crew (constructing San Damiano and planting and harvesting the garden).

Thanks to these students and their group leaders Laura, Elisabeth, Beth, Sue, Katie, Paul, Rob, and Alex for their servant hearts.

Thanks also to our Summer Servants for the week: Grace Pallisard, Marty Nocchi, Kevin Truong, Leah Buck, Gabby DaCunha, Alexandra Sinner, Claire Sofronas, Sarah Schuster, and Marianne & Robert Croisant (and little Sebastian).

Cristo Rey Chicago
Ursuline High (Dedham, MA)
Ursuline (New Orleans)
Our Lady of Grace (IN)
Full Group
Caretakers and Summer Servants

June 9-15, 2019, High School Week

June 9-15, 2019, High School Week: Merion Mercy (Philly), Walsh Jesuit (Cuyahoga Falls, OH), and St. Ignatius College Prep (Chicago

Thanks to the groups from Merion Mercy, Walsh Jesuit, and St. Ignatius College Prep for a great week.

Making a difference serving with Melissa, Teshla, Wellspring, Farmer Rhonda, and on the homefront.

Thanks to these students and their group leaders Karin, Kathryn, Katie, Caitlin, Arielle, Bill, and Lee Ann, for their servant hearts.

Thanks also to our Summer Servants for the week: Grace Pallisard, Marty Nocchi, Frances Rafferty, Caroline Kreh, Kevin Truong, Leah Buck, Gabby DaCunha, Alexandra Sinner, Claire Sofronas, Sarah Schuster, Joey, and Marianne & Robert Croisant (and little Sebastian)

San Damiano Center for Sustainability: Framing in progress, Part I

San Damiano Center for Sustainability:
Framing in Progress, Part I

by Eric Fitts, Director

An update is overdue!

The Shelter-Kit framing kit arrived on a 54-foot truck and trailer with 33,000 lbs of materials. Since the truck could not get up our 1/2-mile driveway, it took all afternoon and the next morning to get the materials up the driveway and positioned near the site (thanks to Mark Solak, with help from Will, Grace, and Joey, fresh from the eastbound train).

The anchor bolts were being set as the materials arrived and framing was able to begin the next week. We are about 10 days in now and have framed out all four exterior walls, set the rim joists, set all interior posts and all four posts for the open-air educational area (left, west side of site), set a couple of floor headers for the left, and set a few floor joists in place for the loft.

Almost everyone has helped to at least raise a wall section and we have had a dedicated crew each week. So far, Cece, Lindsey, Kat, Gabby, Joey, Grace, Kevin, Leah, and others I am forgetting at this late hour have helped for at least one full day, if not much longer. Kevin Truong is our ETHOS intern from the University of Dayton Engineering Department’s service program, so he will see a huge chunk of the project over the course of a full summer, more on his story later.

Thanks for all the support. If you know anyone interested in helping this project come to fruition or who wants to come and help for a week, then send them our way! Donations can be made at bethlehemfarm.net/rmccc

“Rebuild My Church” Capital Campaign