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2/23/2017 9:00:00 AM
WYNANTSKILL
Massive donation means new offices for St. Jude parish
THE EXISTING OFFICE BUILDING
THE EXISTING OFFICE BUILDING
BY KATHLEEN LAMANNA
STAFF WRITER

A long-time parishioner approached Rev. Anthony Ligato after daily Mass one day at St. Jude the Apostle parish in Wynantskill.

"I had never been put back on my heels before," Father Ligato told The Evangelist.

The man offered the parish an anonymous donation of nearly $1 million to build a new parish office complex.

He gave the priest a simple reason: "The donor, along with his family, felt that it was the right thing to do."

Father Ligato, administrator of St. Jude, said the donor had made other donations to the parish in the past: replacing the boiler in the parish school, for instance, and helping the parish to put a new roof on the church.

In this case, though, the parishioner was offering to replace the entire parish office building.

The existing complex, built in the 1950s as a concession stand for parish horse shows, was originally an open-air building. At one point, it was used as a bus garage.

Eventually, the building received walls and became the home for the North Greenbush Library, then for St. Jude's parish offices.

Father Ligato said the building has water leaks when it rains, is poorly insulated and is too small for the offices and meetings that take place there.

"Every infestation can be tied to this building," the priest joked, citing locusts and various other pests the have plagued the building.

The anonymous donor had experience with the building back when it was the North Greenbush Library. He "knew the challenges of the building," Father Ligato said.

"The donor is a very humble man," the priest added. "The last thing he would ever want is publicity.

"At the same time, it's really a joyous thing to celebrate. It's such a wonderful example of the faithfulness of people throughout the Diocese and the Church itself."

The new building will have proper meeting spaces and larger offices. It will also make carrying out specific ministries easier: Father Ligato noted that, at Christmastime, St. Jude parish collects more than 1,000 gifts for people in need. In past years, he said, the gifts filled every corner of the small office building.

The new office complex will be designed by Troy Architecture Practice, PLC, which should produce initial sketches of the design in a few months.

Architect Laura Ryder of TAP, who's working on the project, admitted that, "although the church is our client, I do find myself asking them, 'Would the donor be interested in this?' I do sort of keep that in mind that there might be another player."

Other non-profits the firm serves often get funding from grants, she said, so it's not uncommon to have a kind of "ghost client" the architect must take into consideration.

Still, she said, "the process for designing a building is the same."

TAP will also be helping St. Jude School get new windows this summer.

Lindo Signorelli, chair of the parish's buildings and ground committee, is overseeing the project. Mr. Signorelli worked for 35 years with the State Universities of New York, overseeing the design and construction of all 64 SUNY campuses.

But this project came as a shock to Mr. Signorelli, who calls it a huge blessing for the parish. He estimates that St. Jude's new office building will be double the size of the current one.

"It's really just a wonderful Godsend for us," Father Ligato declared.

The people of the parish are overwhelmed with the generosity of the donor, the priest said -- but the donor just "sees this as providing a ministry and service to the community."





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