Catholic Links

HVAC Campaign





The Promise:

- Replace the 69 year-old boiler that serves the entire campus

- Replace the 25 year-old air conditioning system in the Cathedral

- Install an air conditioning system in the grade school, gymnasium, and cafeteria

- Assure the HVAC control system for the next generation at Saint Cecilia Cathedral

- Enhance every visit to the Cathedral campus


Our Plan is:

- To install air conditioning in the entire grade school and child care building, and upgrade the controls for building-wide HVAC operation.

- To provide new opportunities for additional and year-round activities because of quality HVAC operations.

- To connect new equipment and controls that will result in a 30% reduced operating expense across the campus.

- To install new LED lighting in the school and cafeteria that will reduce operational costs by 75%. Reduced maintenance costs will yield additional savings annually.



- Boiler campus wide service $ 558,370.00

- A/C & controls for school $ 427,120.00

- A/C & controls for cafeteria $ 262,947.00

- A/C in original school $ 277,900.00

- Gymnasium $ 151,876.00

- Cathedral $ 334,025.00

- Rectory boiler & pumps $ 91,174.00

- Engineering studies $ 226,300.00

Total $ 2,329,712.00  


 Read the original 2015 case statement

 See the progress in photos  


Please join in the campaign and make a pledge and donation.

One-hundred percent of your donation stays at Saint Cecilia Cathedral Parish.   

 Pledge/donation form


QUESTIONS? Call Fr. Grewe at 402-551-2313 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

November 2017 Update

In 2014 our parish initiated the “Keeping the Promise” campaign (HVAC) to renew the heating and air conditioning infrastructure of our campus. Much has been done since that date—the boilers have been replaced and air conditioning was completed in the school. The financial goal of the Campaign was $2,500,000 and over these last three years $1,720,000 has been raised and spent.

We would like to now finish the Campaign and the Promise! Would you please help us with this? Our goal is to raise the last $750,000 and to complete the project of renewing the Cathedral air conditioning and to place air conditioning in our cafeteria and gym. We will only do these projects as the money comes in. So would you please make an end of the year gift or even a pledge to the Campaign?

If you own stocks, you know that this has been an unbelievable year of growth. Donations of stock and IRA contributions can offer great tax advantages. Call us if you have any questions 402-551-2313.

Thank you for your consideration and for all that you do for your parish. Together we will continue to make great things happen!

Saint Cecilia, pray for us.

Sincerely in Christ, Rev. Michael W. Grewe, Pastor

September 2016 Update

As you remember this project arose because of an Archdiocesan initiative several years ago to have a capital campaign. Each parish was assigned a financial target to raise funds for the campaign. Some parishes decided to develop a parish project along with the archdiocesan campaign. Funds for the archdiocesan campaign would still be due but all other funds would belong to the parish project.

The Cathedral chose the parish project path and an anonymous parishioner contributed the entire assigned amount for the Archdiocesan campaign and a little left over as the first seed money for our ambitious parish project.

The first fund raising came as a result of a special meeting of fifty or so parishioners and friends of the Cathedral. This was the spring of 2014. After a series of mechanical engineering studies, the project came to life with a target of $2,400,000.

The July 2015 CHIMES announced the project to the parish and the alumni and friends of the Cathedral. The first contributions arrived in early August, 2015. At the conclusion of August 2016 we have pledged and collected funds of $1,485,873.

This money has paid for two new boilers, the installation of the boilers and the connections with the steam-condensate piping across the entire campus, water heaters for the boilers and the Msgr. Ernest Graham building. The boilers were turned on and began operation on October 26, 2015.

During the summer of 2015 we installed LED lighting on all four floors of the school and the cafeteria. This project has lowered our electrical costs substantially. With this efficiency in place we were able to install 50 tons of air conditioning in the classrooms of the elementary school. This new sys-tem began operation August 1, 2015, used until the weather temperatures cooled. It has also served the school since the opening of the school year in August, 2016.

There are three more phases to the HVAC project: the Cathedral church (in July 2016, a compressor failed for two weeks, letting us experience what it is like to have no air conditioning in the church). We had not begun the installation of a new system for the Cathedral; we had to break down and buy a new compressor for the 30 year old unit. This adventure cost $13,000.

The cafeteria will require replacement of units which are close to 40 years old. The gymnasium has never had air conditioning.

We have not taken out loans to fund the HVAC project. We have not had a super donor step up to pay the tab for the completion of the campus project. Our campaign needs $1,000,000, at least to be a success and to allow more people to enjoy reliable, cost and operation efficient air conditioning and ventilation in these spaces on our campus.

I welcome new donors to this project. It is truly an investment in the future of our campus and all of the activities, events and ceremonies which take place in our buildings. Can you make an investment?

Can you make a contribution, and then maybe match it in six to nine months from now? As the Cathedral Builders, founded in the early 1940’s, stepped up to complete the construction and decoration of the Cathedral, so we are looking at the interior environment of the rest of the campus.

Many thanks to all who have already contributed, by way of an investment or by way of single contributions, to help us raise over half of the funds needed for this entire cam-pus-wide HVAC project. There is more to come.

June 2016 Update

One year ago, the July edition of THE CHIMES announced the Heating, Air Conditioning and Ventilation (HVAC) project to replace or introduce the campus wide heating system and air conditioning system. Most of the equipment had long ago overstayed its effective life. Most of it was not energy efficient despite the fact that we had tweaked and retweaked the equipment and the protocols used in the operation of the equipment.

The scope of the project was priced at $2,400,000. This was down from the original price of $4,500,000. We did not suffer a loss of efficiency as we worked toward the new project price. Since that first CATHEDRAL CHIMES public announcement the HVAC (Keeping the Promise) campaign we have received $297,198.16 in pledges and cash. Other sources for HVAC revenue have reaped just over one million dollars.

So, we are just over half way to our goal. We have operated one winter with our new boilers. We are currently taking measurements to determine the effectiveness and efficiently of these boilers. We know that the replacement of all florescent lighting in the four floors of the school and the cafeteria with LED lighting returned an amazingly reduced bill with OPPD. This kind of savings will continue each month going forward.

We operated three months with the air conditioning last fall. It eliminated the “early out” dismissal practice, it aided students’ and teachers’ attention to work and and increased their energy to complete tasks during the school day, it helped with asthma and allergy issues, and it allowed a much calmer atmosphere throughout the building. We have the second half of the project to complete. This includes replacing air conditioning in the cafeteria, which has the oldest air conditioning on the campus; also, replacing the air conditioning and introducing a ventilation capability in the Cathedral, where the old air conditioning units reach back to 1987-88. The final phase will address the Graham Building, especially the gymnasium.

I invited you to participate in this capital campaign. One-time donations/contributions are always welcome. Investments are really what we need because this project is intended to serve all the buildings on the campus for the next 10 - 20 - 30 years or more. Do you have financial holdings in stocks or bonds to consider for this kind of investment? Would you be willing to spread out your contribution over the next 2 - 3 - 4 years? One individual parishioner made it possible for us to consider this capital campaign by paying the Cathedral’s assigned assessment to the Archbishop’s Ignite the Faith campaign as well as provide the seed money to begin our own parish campus campaign. Few people can do such an act of generosity, and foresight, for the parish. But each of us can do our part to reach the remainder of the cost for completing the project. We are grateful for each act of generosity. God loves a cheerful giver, we are told by Saint Paul. Parishioners and guests alike will thank God cheerfully for reliable, efficient heat in the winter and the cool of the air conditioning in the summer time.   

Years of waiting, months of studying and planning, and a different approach to a sixty year-old building is making our school and other buildings on campus ready for air-conditioning. Necessity is compelling us to replace and upgrade campus-wide heating. Comfort is not the only reason for this undertaking: new equipment and controls mean significantly improved efficiency and note-worthy operational savings. Improved environmental spaces will expand the use of our buildings throughout the year. Help us invest in the future of our parish and school mission, and community life.

September 2, 2015:  The old boilers are completely gone and new ones are in place. Everything is being connected, day by day, to be sure heating is in place for cool fall and cold winter temps. For the first time ever in the history of our school, A/C is installed and running in the grade school. This replacement of the old equipment, which is decades old, and installation of A/C in the grade school, will make our buildings on the Cathedral campus more useful throughout the year, will keep our operational costs down and will extend the life of our infrastructure for years into the future. This is a 2.5 million dollar project. It keeps the promise made by the Cathedral Builders over one-hundred years ago, that this is a Cathedral for the ages. We are doing our part to honor that promise. 

March 2016: Since July 2015 I have provided description of the campus wide replacement and installation of HVAC equipment and controls (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning).  

WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT? The promise at issue was the one I made to the Archbishop at the time ofthe Archdiocesan Ignite the Faith Campaign. This campaign gave response to months of extensive meetings, data collection, analysis of Catholic elementary and secondary schools. A plan was developed to better align parishes and schools and better apply resources for sustainable service and faith formation across the urban and rural areas of the Archdiocese of Omaha. An anonymous parishioner donated the assigned financial number which Saint Cecilia Cathedral was to collect in a three year period. That assigned financial amount was $880,000. This allowed our parish to direct its attention and energies to reclaiming an essential component of daily operation of the Cathedral campus – an aging, increasingly high maintenance and repairing of the heating system, the ventilation of five buildings and the upgrading or installation of air conditioning throughout the campus to meet the modern expectation of the activities at the Cathedral campus.

WHERE HAVE WE COME FROM? The promise I made, on behalf of the parish and the school, was to create a plan, and a reasonable budget and a construction time table. The original bid for the campus project was $4,500,000 (which would have required up to an additional $1,000,000 for related costs). It did not take long to realize that this amount of money was beyond the resources of the Cathedral parish and that the cost of operating the equipment and controls was not sustainable. Several months of considerable reexamination of the project resulted in a different concept which linked to the energy efficiency of the equipment and controls. The cost of this plan was $2,400,000. In March, 2014 the revised plan, and price tag, were presented to a small gathering of Cathedral parishioners and friends. Follow-up contacts resulted in the first contributions to the project. In July, 2014 THE CHIMES carried the first article about the project. It also invited financial “investment” for the future of the Cathedral and the school. 

WHAT HAS HAPPENED SO FAR? At the end of February, 2016, we had received, in pledges and cash, $1,311,073. This is over half way to our goal. About one-tenth of this amount is pledged contributions still to be received. The rest has been paid to vendors and contractors. We are pay-as-you-go.We have not taken out a loan and do not plan to take out a loan. What do we have to show for this? The sixteen classrooms of the school, two floors with eight classrooms each, are now air conditioned. The four way directional ceiling mounted units were turned on August 1, 2015 and operated through the latter part of October. The difference in the building was amazing. It was quieter. It was cleaner air. It provided an environment in which students were more attentive to teachers and the work at hand. It eliminated “early out” days because of temperature control. Two six-ton boilers, each capable of heating 80 residential homes, were finally connected to the existing piping system across the campus and to the reconstructed smokestack at the back of the Msgr Ernest Graham Building. The first heat was delivered on October 26, 2015. We have re-lamped all four floors of the school building with LED lighting and we have re-lamped the cafeteria with LED lighting. This allowed us to reduce significantly our electrical use so that we could install air conditioning in the school. This lighting will continue to provide significantly reduced costs each month into the future. There are plans to continue to install LED lighting in the other buildings of the campus, including the Cathedral, as we complete the project. The new control system has proven to be an elusive achievement. A special analytic company has been hired to evaluate the system concept, the installation of the equipment and the performance of the entire system.

WHAT IS TO COME? Discussion has already taken place for replacement of air conditioning equipment in the cafeteria, in the Cultural Center and in the Cathedral as well as first time installation of air conditioning in the gymnasium. This part of the project is every bit as ambitious as the work we have already done. It is every bit as important too. We are looking at $1,200,000 or $1,300,000 for the cost to complete the entire campus.

WHAT DO WE NEED AT THIS POINT IN TIME? One big need is $200,000 to pay the final bills for the work already performed in the school and in the boiler room. No one person is expected to or will be asked to pay this sum of money. We are all benefiting from the newly operating equipment. This sounds like a lot of money. In relation to the overall project already up and running, and successfully so, it represents one sixth of the cost to date. It also represents a significant reinvestment in the school and in the Cathedral campus in Mid-Town Omaha. Have you put off a contribution to the HVAC project? Remember this is an investment which will serve the Cathedral and its campus for the coming decades. Have you already given a contribution? Can you do it again in 2016? Would you be willing to make an investment rather than a donation? Closing this gap between donations and bills yet to be paid will allow us to focus our efforts on the next phase of the HVAC project – A/C for the cafeteria, the gymnasium and the Cathedral. Many thanks to all who have made a contribution to the HVAC project, especially those who have made an “investment” in the Cathedral continuing presence and service to our families, to the Archdiocese, to the MidTown neighborhood and to the many guests and visitors who are always dropping by. The critique I received when I took the HVAC project to the Archbishop’s Office for approval was: “Father, people will not give to something they do not or cannot see.” My reply was: “What if they can feel it?” Help me to make the Cathedral “feel just right” for everyone who comes to us.