by Mark and Julie Anderson
TOPEKA — When a growing family needs space, they sometimes build an addition. And so it is with Mother Teresa of Calcutta Parish here.
When the parish was founded in 2004, it had 378 families. Today, it’s bursting at the seams with 828.
On March 16, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann led the parish in a site blessing and groundbreaking ceremony for an addition to the existing parish building — doubling the space for the growing parish family.
Archbishop Naumann was the main celebrant for a Mass before the groundbreaking. The concelebrants were pastor Father Tom Aduri, founding pastor Father Bill Bruning, and parochial administrator of St. Theresa Parish in Perry, Father Lourdu Marreddy Yeruva.
Archbishop Naumann said it was a joy for him to be there at the parish, celebrating both the Year of Faith and the groundbreaking. He said he was pleased to be able to celebrate the special time with parishioners as the universal church experienced the first days of the pontificate of Pope Francis. He thanked the parishioners for their generosity as they continue to move forward with the parish’s growth.
Prior to the ceremonial first tosses of dirt, Archbishop Naumann led the parishioners gathered at the site in prayers for a successful, safe project. Readings focused on the Lord’s involvement in building a house and how Jesus Christ is the cornerstone.
The moment also brought a little levity as the archbishop told the crowd that Father Aduri had promised him it would be 80 degrees. The crowd laughed — the temperature in Topeka had reached nearly 80 degrees the previous day but had plummeted to the 30s and 40s by then.
Father Aduri is excited about the project, although he felt a little hesitant at first.
“The challenging aspect of the project thus far has been anticipating the cost of the project. Depending on the anticipated cost, I was not sure if I could take the leap of faith and go forward with the project,” said Father Aduri.
“The thing that brought me joy related to the project was how most of the people were very supportive of this project,” he continued. “They keep encouraging me. The money just keeps coming in. In spite of the bad economic times, people make sacrifices to support their parish.”
The parish was founded in 2004 to serve a growing population of Catholics north of the Kansas River. With the exception of two outdoor Masses at the parish site, Masses were held in the Hayden High School cafeteria.
In 2006, Archbishop Naumann joined pastor Father Bill Bruning and parishioners on the parish property to break ground. And despite near blizzard conditions, the archbishop and parishioners returned for the dedication of the multipurpose worship space on Dec. 22, 2007.
The current, 19,200-square-foot parish facility consists of parish offices, meeting rooms, classrooms, a social hall, a serving kitchen, an adoration chapel and worship space.
The Mother Teresa Family Formation Center is a 19,600-square-foot addition of two floors that will expand the number of available meeting rooms. Additionally, the new structure will extend the use of the original ground-source heating and cooling system and is designed in such a way to accommodate a third floor in the future.
Since the parish began under Father Bruning’s leadership, he, too, said he felt great joy about the project and looked forward to its completion. One of the questions he always asks himself when presented with a parish project is: “Is this project doing something beautiful for Christ?”
If the answer is “yes,” then the project is worth doing, he said. The Mother Teresa Family Formation Center will do something beautiful for the entire parish community from the young members to the oldest — essentially serving everyone “from the cradle to the grave and everything in between.”