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Cruising for a fundraiser

October 01, 2004

Jackie Conley

Montrose -- With a faulty roof and a structure that dated to 1925,

Holy Redeemer Catholic Church badly needed a makeover.

"It was very necessary," Father Jack Foley said. "One time we had

an earthquake during a funeral service and we all ran under the door,

scared the roof would come down."

So it's quite a relief to get the church back in shape. But now

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the congregation is left with the task of paying back a more than

$500,000 loan within five years to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Church leaders are hoping the community can chip in to help pay off

the debt. The church was completely rebuilt. The original facade was

main- tained as well as its mission- style design. But seating

capacity jumped from 480 to 680.

The new work cost a total of $3 million. Church leaders were

unsure Friday how much of that was paid off.

A new Chrysler 2004 PT Cruiser alone wouldn't sell for $500,000,

but church leaders hope they can rake in some extra money by raffling

it off. Baseline cost for a the car is $19,998.

The church started selling raffle tickets Sept. 25.

"It's a nice car. I'd like to have one myself," Foley said. "I'm

hoping this raffle is successful."

Three-thousand tickets are on sale at the church and are $20. The

odds of winning are 1 in 3,000.

"This is a way to raise money and awareness in the community,"

said Liz Rusnak, vice president of public relations at the Rusnak

Automotive Group, which donated the car.

Rusnak said the company has been helping nonprofit organizations

for four decades. She pointed out that in a past raffle for the AIDS

Service Center of Los Angeles, the company raised $21,000, the most

it has raised for a vehicle raffle. Church leaders hope to raise the

$500,000 with additional fundraisers.

The winner of the raffle will be announced after the noon Mass on

Christmas. Tickets will be sold until the church runs out of them.

Doug Sinning, Holy Redeemer Church's parish business manager, said

because the church is a part of Montrose and the surrounding

community, he hopes more than just members of the congregation will

buy a raffle ticket.

"This will make someone's Christmas a little nicer," Sinning said.

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