‘It is a dream come true for many parishioners’
Thirty-five years after the idea of a new parish center was first discussed, parishioners at St. Joseph Parish in Scott City stepped over the threshold of a brand new center. On Jan. 9, the center was officially dedicated. With parishioners past and present gathered, the event began with a Mass celebrated by Father Warren Stecklein, pastor, and Father Robert Schremmer, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia.
Following the Liturgy of the Word, the parishioners followed the two priests as they moved along the 16,000 square foot space. Father Schremmer then blessed each room as the parishioners sang the Litany of the Saints. Part of the structure houses a new gathering space with accessible bathrooms, a social hall and a kitchen. Another section includes classrooms with an ITV (interactive television) room.The new parish center also houses the parish offices.
According to Father Stecklein, “On April 15, 2008 we vacated the properties; the rectory was moved to another location in Scott City and became a private residence of a parishioner. At that time the demolition of the old parish center/school building began. Our first function was held in the new parish center on September 19, 2009.” Planning for the new center began in 2004; a feasibility study was undertaken in 2006, and in 2007 the parish took part in a capital campaign to raise funding for the new center.
Father Stecklein told the Register that “In looking at old records and parish council minutes, as far back as 1975 the parish had discussions of building a parish center. It is a dream come true for many parishioners. One of our older parishioners who was on the parish council in 1975 was a vital part of the building project. She prayed that she would live long enough to see it completed. By the grace of God she has and is taking full advantage of all that the building offers.
“The old parish center/school building was not large enough to host parish gatherings in one room,” he added. “Parishioners were always scattered in various classrooms. At funeral dinners, people were seated in multiple classrooms. None of the bathrooms on the church campus were handicapped accessible; in fact the church building had no attached restrooms. “We pray it will promote community life in a hospitable, functional and safe environment.” “We really appreciate how the community stepped up and helped out,” said building committee member, Mike Palen, as quoted in the Emporia Blade-Empire by editor Rod Haxton “It demonstrates how the people of Scott City will pull together and help each other when needed.” More photos can be seen in color at www.dcdiocese.org/register.