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Catholic parish breaks ground on new, larger church

Saint John Paul II Parish broke ground on a new church last Sunday. Photo by Sue Wolfe.

 

By Sue Wolfe

A Rite of Beginning Work on the Building of a Church (commonly known as a groundbreaking) was held on Sunday, August 19 following the 10:30 a.m. mass for a new Catholic church to be built near the existing Saint John Paul II Parish located at 3110 17 Mile Road, Cedar Springs, just west of Meijer. 

The Most Reverend David J. Walkowiak, Bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids, presided over this historic event in the presence of the parish’s first pastor Father Lam T. Le and many joyful parishioners.   

“It is an exciting moment when a bishop has the opportunity to break ground on a new church in his diocese,” said Bishop Walkowiak. “This growth shows the vibrancy of the Catholic faith in West Michigan.”

Since opening in 2013, the community’s first Catholic Church has done extensive remodeling of the sanctuary and added a commercial kitchen, classrooms, offices, storage area, and a large gathering room/dining area. The current church will remain as a holy chapel for weddings, funerals, and daily mass. The adjoining facilities will continue to be utilized for faith formation and an outreach center of the parish.

The Bishop cited the good works and powerful ministry being done through this small community church to include a free Tuesday night meal serving an average 70 people per night. The parish has youth ministries, faith formation programs, and outreach programs, as well as collaborating with other community Christian groups and organizations to address needs within the area schools and community. 

Following the opening words of Bishop Walkowiak, he then sprinkled holy water over the boundary lines of the proposed church and a corner piece of the foundation. Approximately 300 parishioners and guests attended the ceremony followed by a feast in the gathering room where they shared stories of celebration and hope. 

“Over the past five years, I have witnessed how God has been working through the faith community in Cedar Springs,” said Reverend Lam Le, pastor of St. John Paul II Parish. “I have seen a great number of people coming to this parish for the sacraments of Christian initiation. I have also observed families who have joined our parish and joyfully offered their stewardship of time, talent and treasure to the Lord. Truly, St. John Paul II Parish is living its mission of being the hands and feet of Christ.”

Construction of the new church began on Monday, August 20 and is scheduled to conclude in November 2019. The parish expects to have 600 families by the end of 2018. Church leaders believe their ability to grow is dependent on the space they have available. The rectory will wait until after the church is complete.

Saint John Paul II Parish welcomes all those who wish to explore and deepen their faith to include those who may have practiced the Catholic faith in the past, are currently practicing Catholicism, and those who may want to explore and learn what the Catholic faith involves. The office is open Tuesday–Thursday 9–4, and Fridays 9–noon.  Weekday Mass times are Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Thursdays at noon. Sunday Masses are: Vigil at 4 p.m. (on Saturday), on Sunday 8:30 and 10:30 am and 5 pm. You can call 616-696-3904 or visit the website www.JP2-MQA.org for more information. 

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