SCOTTSDALE — Parishioners of Blessed Sacrament, which turns 40 next summer, pulled together enough plans and finances in the last three to six months to move ahead with the latest building effort.
Key leaders from the “Renew, Repair, Refresh” campaign gathered after Mass May 5 for a symbolic groundbreaking. Once completed, the parish will more clearly connect with its name.
Establishing a perpetual adoration chapel is one key facet of the $5.5-million project that also calls for renovations throughout the property. Parishioners have been asking for an adoration chapel for some time — at least since Fr. Patrick Robinson arrived at Blessed Sacrament in 1999.
“Our day has arrived, praise God,” Fr. Robinson said following a procession from the altar to the south side of the property.
He went on to lead a short prayer for successful completion and for protection of construction crews. He also blessed the small crowd that stayed after Mass for the occasion and blessed the land just outside of the parish gift shop, where some expansion will take place.
The church itself will get a major renovation, featuring new pews, carpeting, sound and lighting. A movable glass wall between the chapel and main church will replace the permanent one.
Joe McInerney, chairman of the finance council, explained during a pulpit appeal in March how it will be nice for those gathered in the chapel for a weekend liturgy to have a greater sense of belonging, not having to rely on a televised feed. He also envisioned the future weddings of his three children — now ages 11-15 — in the remodeled church and possibly the baptism of his grandchildren.
“It’d be great if my family gets to use the church just as I’ve laid it out, but even if they don’t, we’re going to get to pass on something beautiful to people beyond us,” McInerney said.
Richard Pawelko, a 30-year parishioner, described the project as a rejuvenation of the community, one that continues to slowly grow with year-round and seasonal members. Pawelko is a newly retired architect and will oversee daily construction work.
Expanding the gift shop and parish office that once doubled as a rectory is in the works too. Plans also call for upgrading the courtyard, bringing existing buildings up to code and creating a drop-off area for funeral Masses and other functions.
“We did this in record time,” Pawelko said.
Required funds to get the project going came together in the last quarter. Parishioners hope the building phase stays ahead of or on schedule. They hope to move back in by Christmas.
All liturgies are now being held in the social hall. A second vigil Mass was temporarily added May 11 to account for the smaller space.
This is the fourth major building project since Blessed Sacrament was established in 1974.