by Jill Ragar Esfeld
LENEXA — It’s no surprise that a little more fanfare surrounds Trinity Sunday at Holy Trinity Church here than at other parishes.
But this year, the traditional liturgy and annual spirit festival on May 18 were enhanced by yet another celebration: the dedication of a new faith and formation center named after a visionary pastor.
Blessed and dedicated by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, the Father Quigley Faith Formation Center honors Father John “Jack” Quigley, former pastor and founder of early faith formation at the parish in a day-care setting.
“He was the first Johnson County pastor to have early education,” explained pastor Father Tom Dolezal. “He wanted it to be more than a day care; he wanted some kind of religious formation. And so that’s what he gave us.”
At the dedication Mass, parish administrator Nick Disidore recognized some of the key players in the construction of the new building, including: architect John Brown of Hollis Miller Architects; project manager Greg King, vice president of S.M. Wilson; and members of the building committee, headed up by Eric Oldenhuis.
After Mass, parishioners processed to the new center, where the archbishop opened the dedication by thanking parishioners for their support in making the center a reality, and reminding them that “we are the building of God,” creating an analogy between the importance of each building stone and each parish member.
Individual crucifixes for each area of the new facility were blessed by the archbishop and carried into the building by children from the early education program and representatives of various other ministries served by the center (see side bar).
Disidore said what pleased him most about the new facility is the fact that it is the result of a cooperative effort. The building committee based its design recommendations on information garnered from extensive meetings with the parishioners, staff and teachers who would ultimately use the building.
King, a Holy Trinity parishioner, said he was impressed with the stewardship of the parish administration and the building committee.
“They watched the money carefully, but were very focused on value,” he said. “They wanted the center to have a nice appearance and quality finishes, but were very mindful of a conservative budget. I thought it was a really good balance in that regard.”
Father Dolezal said he was governed by a philosophy he borrowed from his own first pastor, Father Paul Miller.
“Father told us so many times, ‘When you build something, you don’t have to build a Cadillac, but you don’t have to build junk either,’” he said.
“We can always find a corner in a basement to use for a meeting space,” he said. “But, if possible, isn’t it better to have something that really enhances and enriches the environment, that makes people really want to come to the meeting and to feel really good about it?”
Throughout the project, when there were decisions to be made, King said he tried to look at them first as a parishioner and second as a businessman.
“You know, St. Francis of Assisi said, ‘Preach the gospel every place you go. And if you must, use words.’ So in business, I try to just conduct myself in a way that shows what my values are.
Oldenhuis, whose daughter graduated from Holy Trinity this year, had the pleasure being one of the first parishioners to see the new building in action when he attended her graduation brunch there.
“The building was put to a test, and it came off without a hitch. We got pretty good reviews,” he said. “I’m an engineer and for an engineer to see something like that working the way it’s supposed to, it was the icing on the cake.”
The former children’s center, housed in an old convent just north of the new facility, spent its last few weeks serving as a practice field for local firefighters. Its demolition, scheduled after Memorial Day, will make way for construction of a new perpetual adoration chapel with stained-glass windows designed from the theme of the corporal works of mercy.
“We’re going to have an appreciation celebration for that building before it’s torn down,” said Father Dolezal. “We want to commemorate all the services it has provided. Even in the end, providing a place for firefighters to practice.”
As he looked forward to the future, Father Dolezal expressed his gratitude to parishioners.
“Just thanks for all the support that has helped us build this beautiful building,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming, but I think it was a very worthwhile wait. I think it is a wonderful testimony to Father Jack.”