This appeal is made on behalf of the Mother of Mercy Foundation, Inc., the 501(c)3 public charity that owns and operates the Our Lady, Patroness of America Center in Rome City, the home of the Our Lady of America Devotion. The Langsenkamp Family Apostolate is not a beneficiary of any donations made to the Foundation. Al Langsenkamp is the volunteer President and member of the Board of the Foundation.
As of January 31, we have recieved over $128,000 in donations earning a match of $256,0000! Praise God!
These donations now place the Foundation in compliance with the Public Support test needed for a Public Charity. Our Lady has provided!
We are still short of our stretch goal of $175,000 that will generate over half a million dollars to advance the mission of Our Lady, the Immaculate Virgin, Patroness of America. There is still time to offer your support.
Match will end on the First Saturday of March.
We have a problem! But it’s a good problem.
Just as we thought the number of pilgrims coming to Rome City would start to fall off as winter approaches, November came, and the number of pilgrims keeps climbing! Same in December. Our Lady is calling her Children and we her children are answering.
And then on December 8 we made public Bishop Rhoades Decree naming the Our Lady, Patroness of America Center a place of pilgrimage! See PressRelease.
Great! So where is the problem you ask? As the word spreads of Our Lady’s intercessory response to our pilgrim’s prayers we know that next year will see a continued increase and we need to be ready!
Over the last three years we have raised nearly $2 Million to recover the Chapel and make it welcoming to pilgrims. We tore down 4 dilapidated townhomes and replaced it with 200 new parking spaces. We brought electricity, water, gas, and sewers back into the building, much of which was removed by copper thieves over the last ten years or lost to deferred maintenance. The broken Chapel heat and A/C was replaced, and new modern bathrooms were added which can accommodate up to 1,000 pilgrims per day. All of this was necessary to just open the doors to pilgrims, which we did in March. All of this was done through the staunch support of our Board and a few very generous benefactors. As the year progressed, we saw a surprising rise in the level of pilgrims who have supported our work prayerfully and financially. It appears that Heaven is blessing this mission!
Now we are seeing the fruits of these investments. We frequently learn of healings – spiritual and physical. We hear of answered prayers. And we are most frequently told that this is a special place where God’s peace and Our Lady’s love is manifest.
As we look to 2022, we see the need to keep doing more to serve our pilgrims and to preserve the great treasure of this devotion along with the beautiful chapel and grounds. To keep the progress going…
…our Board is personally committing up to $350,000 in a two-for-one match, for all donations postmarked or received through Epiphany January 6, 2022.
What this means is that if we receive $175,000 in donations the board will match it with $350,000. We will then have $525,000 to move into the next phase! Here’s what we will do with that success:
- Spread the word – Invest in broader outreach in response to Our Lady’s call to “Bring me my children, all my children.”
- Expand devotionals: Commission smaller replica statues, banners, pocket medals and many more items.
- Recover the Convent Chapel where Sr. Mary Ephrem was inspired in prayer to describe the devotion to Our Lady of America.
- Make the water from the spring more accessible to all including limited mobility pilgrims.
- Repair roof in the Chapel and Sacristy.
- Complete painting the interior of the Chapel.
- Find appropriate altar, pews and restore the sanctuary walls.
- Paint the exterior of the Chapel.
- Inspect, clean, and repair all the stained glass.
- Provide for overflow attendance at Masses in the welcome center and conference room via audio/video feed.
- Re-establish the Our Lady of Lourdes grotto on Holy Family hill.
Ok, here’s the reality. It will take more than $500,000 to get all that done. But we can make a huge leap in making the Center capable of supporting the large number of pilgrims who come seeking Our Lady’s intercession.
But with the support of our major benefactors, we now have another problem. While they are continuing their support, it puts us at risk of losing our Public Charity Status. IRS regulations require that at least 1/3 of our support (averaged over a 5-year period) come from sources that do not individually exceed 2% of the total donations (Currently about $50,000). Due to the few large gifts that got us started and open, we are at risk of not meeting that threshold for 2021 and could lose our public charity status. We are about $50,000 short to make the math work. It only takes one gift of $50,000 or a multitude of smaller ones. If we do not make the threshold, we will find ourselves at the mercy of IRS to look at the facts and circumstances and determine if we can remain a public charity… not a good situation. So, any donation, of any amount will help. There is none too small!
We are very blessed to be able to do this work for Our Lady, the Immaculate Virgin, Patroness of America. We hope that your prayerful discernment will guide you in joining this mission in a greater way!
Merry Christmas and God bless!
Al Langsenkamp, President Larry Young, Manager