Holy Angels parish breaks ground on new church site
Members of the Holy Angels Parish finally were able to see the theme of their capital campaign, "Building Together, Soaring in Faith" come together Sunday morning.
A large crowd gathered in the small A-frame church on Leavenworth Road for a special Mass lead by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, followed by the groundbreaking of the church's new building.
"A large, enthusiastic crowd is symbolic of our parish," The Rev. Al Rockers said. "The church was overflowing."
Members of the choir sang "This Is Holy Ground" as Naumann, Rockers and the altar boys, followed by parishioners, made their way to the new site, slightly northeast of the old building, marked by a large, wooden cloth draped cross.
A row of golden shovels awaited the group as Naumann greeted the crowd and blessed the site before Rockers began the general intercessions.
"Bless all those that have worked or contributed to this site on which a church will be built," Rockers said.
The new 18,000-square-foot, 900-seat capacity church designed by Shaughnessy, Fickel and Scott Architects is expected to take about 15 months to complete. Rockers said they've been waiting 20 years for this day, as it took that long to raise enough funds for the $5.5 million project.
Before members were asked to step forward and take a golden shovel, Rockers said a parishioner had asked if the shovels were really made of gold, "and if they are, let's melt them down and put them in the building fund," he said, as the crowd laughed.
Rockers thanked Naumann for his support before asking Basehor Mayor Chris Garcia, Ernie Straub, contractor consultant, Anna Mary Landauer, honorary chairperson of the capital campaign, Therese Horvat, chairperson of the capital campaign, Joe Bradenburg, chairperson of the parish council, Jeff Scherer, chairperson of the finance council, Ed Hoffman, Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Annie Clark, chairperson of the Catholic Women's Organization and Alex Smith and Jennifer Whipple, members of the youth group, to join Rockers and Naumann in the symbolic turning of the soil.
The closing song, "All Are Welcome" was also symbolic of what can be expected of the new building. Rockers said the goal was to create a warm, inviting space where all will feel welcome. The interior will be made of mostly wood and feature lots of natural light, vaulted ceilings and several images of angels, he said.
"The people have a strong desire that some of their Catholic traditions appear in their new church and they're going to," he said.
After the ceremony, members and guests gathered in the nearby parish hall for refreshments. Landauer, a longtime active member of the church and the Basehor community, said the capital campaign had excellent cooperation throughout the process and she was excited the day had finally come.
"It shows that we're growing not only in the church, but in faith in the community," she said.