By ROSIE GITHINJI
MT. VERNON — —
One year ago, the groundbreaking for the new St. Mary’s Catholic Church took place. On Jan. 13, the new church will be opened to the public for the first time.
Father John Iffert said the Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton, Ph.D., STD, from Belleville will be at the church to hand the keys over to Iffert, who will then open the doors to the new church.
There will be a mass of dedication, during which time the alter and the building will be dedicated, Iffert said. He said the mass will probably last for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
The groundbreaking for the new church took place on Dec. 19, 2011. Iffert said there has been a space issue in the old church for years.
“Really this project goes back to the 1980’s, when they began to look at [options],” Iffert said. “This building and the design work on that began in 2009.”
The old church has been around since the 1920’s and will be closed for now, Iffert said. He added the master plan calls for the building to be removed. Iffert said he looked into the option of expanding the old building, but it would have cost too much to be feasible. He also said anyone who is interested in repurposing the old church, keeping to the mission of St. Mary’s, would be something he is willing to discuss.
The church is not yet fully paid off and Iffert said anyone who would be willing to help with donations would be welcomed.
“We are taking on a construction loan here in the amount of $1 million,” he said. “Everything that has gone into construction of the building has been provided by the parishioners.”
In addition to the mass of dedication taking place on Jan. 13, Iffert said there will also be a community open house, starting at 3 p.m., Friday, Jan. 25. There will be tours, a prayer service and a musical performance on that night.