St. Patrick Church, Urbana, is rededicated after expansion
URBANA — During a celebration that literally could not be contained to the worship space, the newly expanded and renovated St. Patrick Church was rededicated by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, during a festive liturgy on Dec. 9.
The result of more than a decade of dreaming, planning and fundraising that began with the parish’s centennial celebration in 2003, the $5.7 million project includes a 6,900-square-foot addition to the church that doubles the seating from 300 to 600. The lower level of that addition gave the parish another 6,700 square feet of meeting and storage space.
A new gathering space connects the church and the existing parish hall and offices.
“Your parish has a lot to be proud of,” Bishop Jenky told the 600 people in church and 300 in the parish hall, who watched the Mass on monitors. “I can only imagine all the meetings, all the arguments, all the discussions, all the work, all the sweat equity that has gone into building this magnificent temple of the living God.”
The assembly responded with laughter when he looked around the new sanctuary, which was reoriented to accommodate the addition, and said, “The last time I was here, this was the church.”
He recalled the holy men and women who had gone before them, including Bishop John Lancaster Spalding, who in 1901 purchased the land on which the church sits, and encouraged his listeners to carry on the faith and vision of their predecessors in faith.
“Most Catholics live their whole life without seeing what can only be described as the awesome rites of dedication. So remember this, but most of all remember their meaning,” Bishop Jenky said.
“You are called to be temples of the Holy Spirit,” he told them. “You, as the assembly, are to be a temple of the living God. Let Christ’s love and grace and mercy and goodness shine through you.”
THANKS ALL AROUND
After the homily, Bishop Jenky placed the altar stone, containing relics of St. Gregory and St. Titus, in the new altar. The blessing with holy water and sacred chrism followed, with Msgr. Doug Hennessy and Father George Remm, former pastors, walking through the church and anointing the walls with the oil.
Fragrant smoke filled the church as Bishop Jenky placed incense on burning coals in a vessel resting on the new altar. Once the altar, the 40 priests and deacons who attended, and the assembly were blessed with incense, candles in the sanctuary and throughout the church were lit and the altar was dressed for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
The first people to receive Communion were those who were seated in the parish hall. They got their first view of the new church as they came forward in a procession down the main aisle.
Before inviting them to explore the church and attend the reception, which took place in the parish hall and new Trinity Hall, Father Joseph Hogan, pastor, thanked everyone who turned the dream of an expanded and renovated church at St. Patrick into a reality. Among them were the parish staff and the members of the Church Expansion Building Committee, the Art and Environment Committee, and the Music Advisory Committee.
He also expressed gratitude to Dan Stauder of Stauder Architecture of St. Louis, Missouri; Broeren Russo Builders Inc. of Champaign, the general contractor; and Berns, Clancy and Associates of Urbana, the engineers, as well as “good neighbors” Carle Hospital and the City of Urbana.
GENEROUS SPIRIT “CONTAGIOUS”
Father Hogan saved words of heartfelt praise for his parishioners.
“Your faith, your support, your love is incredible,” he said. “Many of your families have been here from the very beginning of the church. Some of you are new here to St. Pat’s. All of you helped us with the vision and the possibility.”
He added, “Your generous spirit is contagious, and you should be so proud of what you did tonight.”
Bishop Jenky didn’t let Father Hogan get away without being acknowledged. Parishioners responded with applause and cheers when invited to show their appreciation.
The first church on the property, a wood frame building, was built in 37 hours in July 1901 and dedicated as St. Patrick Church. The new parish had 42 families.
The cornerstone for the permanent church was laid in Oct. 27, 1901. Designed by George P. Stauduhar of Rock Island, it was dedicated on May 24, 1903.
A renovation took place in the 1970s as part of the changes brought about by Vatican II. The church would be refurbished again in 2002, as part of the centennial celebration.
A capital campaign was launched to fund the current building project in February 2011. Ground was broken on Nov. 16, 2014, and construction began March 2 of this year. The last Mass in the original church was celebrated on May 24.
Mass was in the parish hall while construction was taking place.
Having a new spiritual home has resulted in a change of Mass schedule for St. Patrick’s 1,200 households: Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 8 and 10 a.m. and noon.