Interesting Stuff

Founding Member to Retire

Les McDonald is one of CCFM’s founding members and is retiring from the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Les received his California Real Estate License in 1966 and was employed by a local brokerage. Shortly thereafter, he opened his own office in 1969. Les explains, “Initially I was selling single family homes and income units. As time went by, I was involved with commercial leasing and the sale of commercial properties.”

In addition, Mr. Go-getter, opened a messenger business in 1983 primarily doing the deliveries for all the San Francisco Bay area title companies; it was a family run corporation. This business was sold in 1990 and the real estate office closed in 1991. However, that opened the door for Les to work for the Archdiocese as their property manager. Les tells us, “I was the first and only person in this role from the beginning. Through the course of time I have been exposed to every type of real estate imaginable!” Some of the types of work he has been involved with include the selling of grave sites, churches, time shares, commercial buildings, air rights, schools, apartments, restaurants, raw land and both leases and ground leases.

During his tenure, Les became both director and executive director of the construction, security, administrative services, and the I/T department. Amazingly, he has worked under 4 archbishops, 3 CFOs, 9 auxiliary bishops, 3 department of catholic schools and survived!

We wish Les all the best in his retirement. He hopes to be traveling in Europe again, “I will be hopefully going back to Europe, Ireland and Italy are my favorites. In addition, I will continue by consulting for the Archdiocese – just working from home a lot more. Last but not least, spend more time with my family.” Thank you for your service, Les, and for your help planting the seeds of CCFM!

How to Begin

Here’s a great article that outlines the steps and thought processes for a church renovation.  It is always a daunting task and difficult to find/raise the money necessary; it’s even difficult to figure out how much a project will cost!  This article identifies with the struggles pastors go through and gives some guidelines to help get started.  Click here.

Church in the Prairie

The Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church of Homer, Illinois (just outside of Chicago) is situated in a prairie.  While a pretty setting, it presents a whole set of unique problems.  This article outlines the steps that were taken to preserve, and in fact improve, the prairie while reducing the maintenance and recurring costs associated with their unique location.  Click here to read the article.

A Feast for the Eyes

Have you seen the recent copy of “Traditional Building?”  I was happy to see one of our members, Bovard Studios, featured on the cover.  The cover is a beautiful stained glass window that Bovard created for St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  Here is a link to the magazine. The window is beautiful and modeled after Bernini’s “Holy Spirit” in St. Peter’s in Rome.  It is wonderful work to build, restore, maintain these sacred places of worship!


Back in October, we had a post titled, Steeples, High in the Sky.  We now have a video showing the completed work.  If you click here you can watch the local Roanoke, Virginia television station’s coverage.

Also, click here and for $1.99 you can watch on YouTube the entire episode of Salvage Dawgs that features the St. Andrew’s restoration project.

Nativities Welcome!

There may not have been room at the inn for the Holy Family 2000+ years ago, but the Texas State Capital building is making room this year! The simple nativity scene is prominently displayed in the rotunda of the capital. This story is uplifting and encouraging for Christians and for the fight for religious freedom everywhere. Click here for the full story.

Adobe Mission in Arizona

This time last year a Scottsdale Old Adobe Mission in Arizona celebrated its 100 anniversary. As visitors to the mission have increased, a need for updates and restoration was needed. Not only did they desire to restore the mission adobe building, but there was a need for compliance with ADA codes and better restroom facilities. Click here to watch a video and read the article about the project and the history of this now 81 year old mission in Scottsdale, Arizona.

If you are interested, this link will take you to a six minute youtube video that tells a beautiful story about the love that built this church and particularly highlights the salvage of the cathedral glass windows.

Incubator Kitchen?

Have you ever heard of an incubator kitchen? I hadn’t, but now I know what it is and that St. Philip’s in downtown Battle Creek, Michigan is looking at establishing one in their Tiger Room (school’s mascot – Tigers).

The parish has a stand-a-lone building called the Tiger Room where parish functions used to be held. In recent years, the building has fallen into disrepair.

Now, they have a plan to restore the two-story building making the upstairs a meeting room and the downstairs an incubator kitchen. It’s a great idea! Click here to find out more about it. We will keep you posted on the progress!

Paint, paint and more paint

Some churches can take your breath away. This is the case with St. Mary’s in Hague, North Dakota. She’s a beautiful church that needed a little paint touch-up after some water damage had been repaired. Henning Church and Historical Restoration was hired to do a relatively small job that “grew wings” and flourished into a full-scale paint restoration. Check out the full article here.