About this blog: Discussing religion, spirituality and values. About the writers: Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. Janet Marshall is the religion editor for The Free Lance-Star.
Parish plans for permanent home
After 10 years of gathering in temporary facilities, from a funeral home to a gym to a converted warehouse, the congregation of St. Jude Catholic Church now has plans for a permanent place of worship.
St. Jude—named for the patron saint of impossible causes—was established as a mission church in 2003 to alleviate the growing pains of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Fredericksburg.
The 800 families who now call St. Jude their home parish have looked forward to seeing some definite progress toward a permanent church building since the planning first began in 2005.
“There are a lot of ways in which we are strained,” said the Rev. James Hudgins, who became pastor of St. Jude in June. “We don’t have a lot of space; we don’t have anywhere to grow.”
Although the church’s current location in a former Extreme Powersports store warehouse is “adequate,” Hudgins said that a building not meant for a permanent church presents challenges such as issues with heating and leaks.
The plan is to break ground on the approximately $6 million project in 2016 and complete construction in about a year.
Then the church will be able to relocate from the warehouse on Courthouse Road to the new building, which will be on Lee Hill School Drive near U.S. 17.
The new church plans include seating for 750, with the possibility of expanding to fit 1,050; offices; and a parish hall in the basement.
The people of St. Jude have been raising the money to fund the construction of their new home parish. Throughout the past decade, they have raised about $1.3 million through raffles, baked goods and crafts sales, fish fries, Christmas tree sales, two capital campaigns and the weekly collections at Mass.
Members hope to expand those fundraising efforts, including a seven-night Royal Caribbean cruise to Bermuda, from which a portion of the proceeds will go to the building fund.
Hudgins said the parish has responded to the drawing of the new church building that was unveiled in August with “joy, enthusiasm and hope.”
“A church building expresses in stone the faith that we profess in words,” he said. “We profess a faith that is beautiful; we profess a faith that is permanent. We try to build a building that is beautiful, permanent and transcendent. It helps people lead better Christian lives.”
Bridget Balch: 540/374-5417 email@example.com