New Catholic church nears reality
Ground soon will be broken for another church along U.S. Highway 24-40.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church, which for more than 100 years has held services at 703 River Street, should move into a new location between West Haven Baptist and Victory Baptist churches by next fall.
And on Oct. 18, parishioners will have a ground-breaking ceremony to symbolize the project's beginning.
"We're making it a BYOS -- bring your own shovel," said the Rev. Mark Goldasich. "We'll try to outline where the building is going to sit and have everyone who is out there to turn dirt."
The event will begin with a mass at 4 p.m. at the current church. Then, between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., parishioners will break ground at the future site, with punch and cookies to be served afterward. Goldasich said he hopes Archbishop James Patrick Keleher of the Kansas City, Kan., Archdiocese will say the mass. Regardless, Keleher will say a prayer at the new site and bless it with holy water.
Construction should be completed by mid-August of next year, Goldasich said, while building committee member Russ Kimberlin said everything should be ready to go by November 2004. Kimberlin, of course, said weather will dictate when that date will occur.
"Weather permitting, we should be able to move in, we hope, next November, weather permitting now," Kimberlin said. "You never know what might happen there."
The first phase, a parish center with classrooms and some offices, carries a price tag of more than $2 million. Services will be held there until a permanent church is constructed. Goldasich hopes a church, which would cost about $3 million, can be built in five years. A third phase -- a school -- still is being discussed.
Parishioners' pledges will fund the project, while the diocese also will lend Sacred Heart some money.
Kimberlin said financing for the project has progressed well.
"The pledges have been made, but they just haven't all been collected," Kimberlin said. "I think everything's all right."
Goldasich will be eager to move into the new structure, not because he dislikes the cozy and storied church on River Street, but because the new building will offer so much more room.
"It will double what we have right now overnight in space," Goldasich said. "It will be used for dinners and classes also."
The parish priest is excited about the new structure, but said the entire parish should be proud.
"This is not just the archbishop's building or my building or the building committee's building," Goldasich said. "Everyone's contributed so we thought it would be good for everyone to turn dirt and take ownership of that."