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by Shawn Cumberbatch

heroncourtThe prospect of living in an upscale home on Barbados’ famed West Coast has apparently failed to entice a local Roman Catholic congregation.

Barbados TODAY understands that the St. Dominic’s Roman Catholic Church will now have to find other means of raising funds to help recoup the cost of its more than $2 million pastoral centre and parish hall after two years of trying to raffle a million dollar townhouse at Heron Court, Porters, St. James failed.

The cost of homes at Heron Court range from $980,000 to $1.4 million.

Sources indicated that as recently as two days before Christmas last year, officials of the Maxwell Main Road, Christ Church place of worship had indicated that the Win a Million Dollar Home Raffle would have been drawn on January 31, 2013.

But in a letter dated January 30, 2013 signed by Parish Priest Father Luke Kopaniak, ticket holders were informed that ticket sales did not reach expectations even after extensions to the original draw date and that those who had spent funds on the home raffle would be given a full refund.

“As many of you may know, the St. Dominic’s Parish community embarked on an exciting and extremely promising fundraising effort in 2011 to defray some of the costs incurred when the St. Dominic’s Parish Hall was built. Several fund raising initiatives were developed to repay this sizeable debt including the Win a Million Dollar Home Raffle,” Kopaniak said in his correspondence.

“A lot of energy and enthusiasm was displayed by the raffle’s committee members and we were optimistic that the prizes in the raffle would have attracted many purchasers such as yourself. Unfortunately despite the efforts of so many willing volunteers, ticket sales have fallen way below original expectations, even after extensions to the original draw date, which appears to have been a direct consequence of the continuing economic recession.

“As a result and after much deliberation, we have had to take the unfortunate but necessary decision to cancel the raffle.

“We do regret having to take this decision but trust that you will understand the need to do so in the best interest of all parties and do hope that you will continue to support the church’s fund raising initiatives in helping the poor and needy in our community. Indeed, we are pleased to report that other types of fund raising activities have been successful and more of such are planned during this year,” he added.

Ticket holders were to have started receiving refunds from February 1, with the process then closing on March 31.

In an update on the issue to parishioners last month, the church’s leadership said despite the failure there were no regrets about building the modern parish centre.

“Today we can say we were right to decide on building the centre and it is worth every penny we spent on it. Despite the unfortunate cancelling of our ‘win a home’ we are able to regularly pay our mortgage rates, thanks to your generous donations,” they were told.

The parish facility, which cost more than $2 million was built to serve a number of purposes including on-site living accommodation for St. Dominic’s priests, and visiting church leaders. This was in addition to classrooms and conference facilities.

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