by Steve Peterson
The St. Patrick Parish Building Committee unveiled plans for a new $1.2 million Parish Center project in Akron.
Parishioners attended a Sept. 30 meeting on the project at the church’s current Parish Hall. The project is in its earliest fund-raising stages, officials stressed.
The Parish Center Project, “A Parish for the 21st Century” would in general terms include a 200-seat Parish Hall, six classrooms, Fellowship Hall and Gathering Space at the present church site on Seventh Street. Most Reverend R. Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux City endorsed pursuing the project in an Aug. 9 letter.
“I was happy to hear from Father Roger Linnan that various committees of St. Patrick’s Parish in Akron were considering the possibility of a parish center adjacent to the church. It’s encouraging to me because it’s a sign that the parish is alive and hoping to grow.
“Opportunities likes this only come along once in a while. This is an opportunity for you to improve your parish facility; more importantly it is an opportunity for you to expand your faith and trust in God.
“To have a successful campaign, it will require a great deal of sacrifice from all parishioners. But in the final analysis that is what makes a parish strong – their ability to sacrifice.
“I encourage you to embrace this project. Let it be a time in which you grow in your faith, through your prayers for the success of this undertaking, and through your willingness to sacrifice. Let it be a time when you grow in appreciation for one another and in your joy as you see things develop and unfold,” said Bishop Nickless’s letter.
“We’re not asking for any decisions tonight but that you consider and pray about this,” said Father Linnan.
The effort has been in the talking stages for about a year.
“We’re grateful to them (Building Committee) and the people who came to meetings. What a wonderful atmosphere. People could say exactly what they thought, discuss it and it evolved,” said Father Linnan.
According to drawings handed out at the Sunday night parish meeting, there would be a Gathering Space near the entrance; a Hearth Room; a vesting sacristy; a reconciliation chapel; six classrooms for religious education; mechanical and storage rooms; office-storage; the 200-seat hall which would be used for large gatherings such as weddings and church events; to the rear another mechanical-storage area, a kitchen and pantry and a covered patio. A parking lot is included.
St. Patrick Parish’s co-chairmen for the project are Tim Blum and Gary Horton. Building and other church officials are Paul Bernard, Connie Blake, Kevin and Sandi DeRocher, Robert Frerichs, Nancy Lilly, Lyle Ostermyer, Deacon Richard Port, Stan Rolfes and Janice Swanson. An architect, Brad Mollet of Mollet Architecture of Jefferson, S.D., has been retained to work on the design.
Building cost will be $1.2 million; amount expected from sale of buildings assets, and savings, $200,000 and amount needed to be raised is $1 million.
St. Patrick’s Parish presently has about 150 parishioners. Its current building was built in 1974, after an old church had been torn down.
Officials said plans are to sell the current Parish Hall and Rectory as well as use parish savings for funding if fundraising goes well.
Final construction will begin, according to diocese rules, only when 50 percent of needed cash and pledges has been raised, hopefully by Spring of 2013.
“It’s an ambitious goal. We have given you a breakdown of the five-year payouts so it does not seem to be so difficult. We want you to mull it over for about six weeks or so, consider it and pray about it. When God asks you to give something, it comes as a surprise. Everything God has given to us is a gift,” said Linnan.
The Parish Center Project, if it comes to a successful fruition, will take the parish well into the 21st Century, said Linnan. Diocese officials have told him there are no plans or talks to close the church and this building plan will be of great help to assure the future.
Following presentation of the plan, parishioners shared their views in small groups on Sunday night. There was positive feedback about the good future such a project could provide. One concern was the town’s new Care Center fundraising already underway.