By JOANNE FOX
FORT DODGE – Groundbreaking is set for 5:30 p.m., Aug. 1, at the site of the new Holy Trinity Church, in Fort Dodge – taking another step in the parish’s direction envisioned in its “Living our Faith; Building our Future” Parish Plan.
More than three decades of long-range planning positioned the Webster County parish to initiate a multi-million dollar capital campaign in September 2016 for a new worship site, adjacent to St. Edmond School.
The price tag for the overall project – as designed for church, narthex, social hall, meeting room and parish offices – is about $15 million, explained Msgr. Kevin McCoy, pastor.
“Benchmark One is a 1,000-seat church, narthex and day chapel at an estimated cost of $10 million,” he said. “Benchmark Two is constructing the social hall, meeting rooms, connector to St. Edmond School and parish offices at $5 million with eventual expansion for day care.”
In November of 1984, the Diocese of Sioux City put forth a plan to examine parish viability and that plan brought about the first parish linkages. The diocese implemented further long-range planning in 1993 with Ministry 2000 – Our Baptismal Call, which proposed further clustering to address the declining number of priests.
In 2000, a team of priests was assigned to minister to the three Fort Dodge parishes – Corpus Christi, Sacred Heart and Holy Rosary – as well parishes at Clare and Barnum. Within two years, the parishes at Dayton, Duncombe and Moorland were added.
According to Kevin Black, one of the capital campaign chairs, the decision to start the actual planning for a new worship site resulted from years of planning, including several organized task forces and parishioner input.
“The earliest organized committee that I recall started in 2003,” said the long-time parishioner of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Moorland. “Even back then, the anticipated low priest count and structural condition of the existing churches were priorities in seeking solutions.”
Holy Trinity Parish, which serves Webster County as a single entity, was established in 2006. Over the next several years, meetings were held with administration at St. Edmond Schools and the Marian Home to begin joint planning for a single worship site.
In 2015, the BVH architectural firm of Omaha was re-engaged to lead a planning process for the new single-site church.
In the spring of 2016 a feasibility study was conducted, which revealed support for the single site. Bishop Walker Nickless sent a letter to all Holy Trinity parishioners that summer stating that because of the number of priests retiring from active ministry, there were not sufficient priests to fill all pastoral assignments.
Webster County was reduced to two priests; the three rural sites – Clare, Dayton and Moorland – were moved to the status of merged worship site church, effective Aug. 1, 2016.
While the project will likely be built in phases, the master plan exists, and although Msgr. McCoy acknowledged, it is a “significant financial commitment,” the amount of new construction is actually less than modifying existing structures and ongoing costs of maintaining present structures.
“This vision builds on more than 150 years of evangelization in service to the Catholics of Webster County,” he said. “This approach will provide for a vital parish in the century to come and beyond.”