By JOANNE FOX
FORT DODGE – More than three decades of long-range planning has positioned Holy Trinity Parish to initiate a multi-million dollar capital campaign for a new worship site, adjacent to St. Edmond School.
The campaign was announced to parishioners the weekend of Sept. 17-18.
According to Msgr. Kevin McCoy, V.G., the initial goal recommended by CSS – a professional fundraising firm which partnered with the parish – is $7.5 million with a “stretch goal” of $10 million.
“The overall project as designed for church, narthex, social hall, meeting room and parish offices is $15 million,” the pastor of the parish explained. “Benchmarks were established: Benchmark One is a 1,000-seat church, narthex and day chapel at an estimated cost of $10 million. 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. Ideally, the entire project would be undertaken as soon as possible as inflation factors will only increase the cost of the entire project.”
Chairs of the capital campaign are Denny and Maureen Crimmins, Kevin and Kelly Black and Tom and Jane Condon. Their goal is to complete the campaign by late November, early December, Kevin Black explained.
“On a personal level and since my involvement with the long-range planning back in 2003, I have always been impressed with the high degree of leadership that has been exhibited by so many within the Holy Trinity Parish,” he said. “Instead of reacting to the many approaching challenges, years of planning have taken place to ensure Holy Trinity Parish of Webster County continues to meet our future religious needs.”
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.
Kevin Black noted 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.
Since 2010, Holy Trinity Parish has been acquiring property to replace sports facilities that would be lost at the St. Edmond campus. A double gymnasium and football/track field was purchased from the Fort Dodge Community Schools to accommodate that need.
In 2015, the BVH architectural firm of Omaha was re-engaged to lead a planning process for the new single-site church. In addition to Msgr. McCoy and Kevin Black, a sizeable number of parishioners from across Webster County formed a building design team to work with BVH architects to examine a number of approaches to address two specific challenges in the parish.
“First, we looked at how we could provide our Catholic community with efficient, useful and safe modern buildings that would meet future needs,” Msgr. McCoy said. “Second, we examined how we would build/create a master plan to evaluate the future use of our existing and future facilities.”
He continued, “This process resulted in a conceptual schematic design. The parish council considered the matter and recommended the pursuit of a feasibility study and ultimately resolved to engage in a capital campaign.”
In the spring of 2016 a feasibility study was conducted by CCS (see related story), which revealed support for the single site and a willingness on the part of many interviewed to financially support it, Kevin Black pointed out.
“The concept to build a single site with allowance for future expansion near St. Edmond School and Marian Home Retirement Center was very favorable,” he said. “Creating a campus concept, if you will, seemed to draw a very positive reaction from many parishioners.”
Looking to the future
Msgr. McCoy admitted the single worship site decision was not arrived at lightly and consideration was given to parishioners concerned about ceasing the celebration of Mass at Clare, Dayton and Moorland.
“Bishop Walker Nickless sent a letter to all Holy Trinity parishioners this summer stating that because of the number of priests retiring from active ministry, there were not sufficient priests to fill all pastoral assignments,” he said. “Hence, the bishop implemented two elements of the Ministry 2025 pastoral plan: Webster County was reduced to two priests and the three rural sites – Clare, Dayton, and Moorland – were moved to oratory status effective Aug. 1, so weekend liturgies ended at those parishes.”
Parishioners also voiced concerns about the church properties, including Corpus Christi – which had been designated an historical site.
“Alternate uses for the existing church properties are being explored. In addition to the architects’ examination of these buildings, a local contractor who is a parishioner experienced in repurposing structures has also provided some feedback,” Msgr. McCoy said. “The architect and design committee plan to incorporate harmoniously various items of artistic significance in the new construction.”
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.”