Salix parish blesses new chapel, hall and classrooms Dec. 3
By RENEE WEBB, Globe editor
Bishop Walker Nickless read Scripture featuring a letter from Paul where the saint had called his community “fellow citizens with the holy ones” and also referred to them as members of the household of God.
“We are part of God’s family – brothers and sisters in the Lord, sons and daughters of God, adopted into God’s family by Jesus Christ himself our brother and our savior,” said the bishop. “This is a beautiful description of the church, a beautiful description of St. Joseph Parish here in Salix.”
Bishop Nickless noted that St. Paul concluded the passage by telling the community that they were being built into the dwelling place of God.
“God dwells, he abides, he lives with us in this community of faith,” the bishop said. “We honor and acknowledge God’s presence among us. We thank him for what has been accomplished by the efforts of so many people.”
Churches like St. Joseph, Bishop Nickless said, are very important to the Christian community. Every Catholic Church, he added, is a house of God.
“We also know that the church is here when God gathers us to worship like we do every Sunday,” he said.
“Buildings are also important to any community. They give us space to celebrate and grow in faith. In your new parish hall and your renovated catechetical center we can gather together to share fraternity and fellowship, companionship and hospitality.”
He told the congregation that they have much to be proud of. The bishop thanked Father Pat O’Kane, pastor, for his leadership and all of the parishioners who gave of their time and resources to make the project happen.
Father O’Kane said it has been wonderful to see how everything has come together and “see the fruit of all the work. To be able to celebrate that is really a gift from God.”
He explained that it was a multi-phase project.
The former Catholic school that had been used for religious education classes was torn down a couple of years back. From there the parish basement that had served as a hall was then used for classes. For the last 18 months or so funeral dinners and other parish functions were done in the city hall. The new addition not only includes a hall and day chapel but parish offices and a full kitchen.
L & L Builders Co. was the general contractor for the project and Brad Mollet was the architect.
“We are the living stones,” he said. “We are doing God’s work here.”
Parishioners who worked with the project said they were very pleased with the end result and many commented that it was better than what they had expected.
Jim McKenna, one of the parish directors, spoke of the teamwork involved in accomplishing this task.
“It had looked like a daunting task but it wasn’t because everyone pulled together,” he said.
Ron Wood, the incoming parish director, called the remodeled catechetical rooms and addition “a great blessing for our parish. We have a wonderful, active parish. They really stepped up with everything to make this successful.”
Like McKenna, Wood said the project came together well due to the involvement of many.
His wife, Margaret, said, “We are a close-knit community but this brought us even closer because we allworked together.”
Deb Harpenau, a member of the building committee, said, “It’s actually better than what I had expected it to be. It’s bigger and things came together well.”
Greg Jochum, another member of the building committee and parish finance committee, said he is excited that the project is finished. He acknowledged that many people gave much of their time to the project with numerous meetings.
“It was very much worth it in the end – seeing the end result,” he said. “I had a vision in my mind of what it would be but this doesn’t compare. It’s better.”
Besides the hall many view the day chapel, which will hold about 30 people, as a wonderful addition to the church. It will be used regularly for weekday Masses so the church will not have to be heated those days.
While some parishioners contributed financial resources and time to serve on committees, others offered their talents in landscaping or even building items for the day chapel such as the altar, ambo and cross.
“Every time we needed something, someone stepped up,” McKenna said.
The celebration continued with a catered meal and auction. Profits of the auction will go to help pay for the hall.
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