Local Parishes

Fiat Center a ‘beautiful expression’ of faith, says archbishop

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann blesses the new Fiat Center at Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish in Overland Park following a Mass at the church on June 9. The handicap-accessible center is now home to the pastor’s and receptionist’s offices, as well as three meeting spaces equipped with modern audiovisual equipment. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

by Moira Cullings

OVERLAND PARK — When Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish here began construction on its Fiat Center last July, one thing stood in the way.

An 85-year-old silver maple tree was blocking part of the area where the new building would be constructed.

“It was 65 to 75 feet tall,” said Ralph Pruente, parish representative construction coordinator for the project. “It was about five feet in diameter at the trunk.”

Parishioners were sad to see the tree taken down, but what they found in the process was a pleasant surprise.

“That five-foot diameter trunk in most silver maples at that age is hollow in the middle, rotten out,” said Pruente. “Ours was completely solid all the way through.”

The parish was able to use the wood to create bases for two statues displayed in the Fiat Center. Two disks from the trunk will be hung in the center’s main hallway, and its conference room tabletop will be made from the wood.

It’s one of many moments that Pruente, a parishioner of 53 years, said were providential this past year as the Queen community worked to revamp its parish grounds.

On a mission ‘to form hearts’

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann blessed the Fiat Center following a Mass at the church on June 9.

“It’s a beautiful expression of your faith and your bonding, your fellowship, with each other,” he told parishioners, “as you make this new center where many will come to deepen their faith and come to know Jesus in a greater and more powerful way.”

Father Bill Bruning speaks to parishioners in the courtyard behind the new Fiat Center at Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish in Overland Park, which was transformed into a prayer garden that features a Divine Mercy grotto, firepit and small waterfall. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

The center is now home to the pastor’s and receptionist’s offices, as well as three meeting spaces equipped with modern audiovisual equipment.

The handicap-accessible building is 5,300 square feet, and its brick and stone matches the characteristics of the church.

The project was managed by a construction oversight committee, which included pastor Father Bill Bruning, Pruente, Austin Massoth and CJ Pfeiffer.

Massoth was the architect for the building, and the general contractor was Straub Construction. Construction began last July and was completed in May.

In addition to the center, Archbishop Naumann blessed the courtyard behind it, which was transformed into a rosary garden with a Divine Mercy grotto, firepit and small waterfall — a project led by landscape architect Tom Kolarik.

Inside the church, a new tabernacle was relocated to a more prominent position on the altar underneath the crucifix.

Archbishop Naumann blesses the new and relocated tabernacle at Queen of the Holy Rosary Church in Overland Park. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

The total cost of the entire project was $3.2 million, raised through a capital campaign and donations from friends of the parish.

Father Bruning was delighted with how everything turned out.

“It’s ultimately about the mission to form hearts, to form people,” he said.

A dream come true

The recommendations for the Fiat Center came about in 2017 when Father Bruning and the parish council formed a parish-wide strategic planning committee with more than 50 parishioners.

“Since I had been involved from day one on the planning and discussions of potential projects, it was an easy transition for me and my firm, BBN Architects, to work on the project,” said Massoth.

It was a special experience for the architect, who has been a Queen parishioner for 19 years.

“I hope that it will be very meaningful for the parish to be able to have fully accessible, flexible spaces with up-to-date technology to fulfill the needs and goals of the many ministries of the parish,” he said.

“Our parish strives to focus on hospitality, prayer, formation and service,” he continued, “and the Fiat Center will allow us to provide formation opportunities for many generations to come.”

Archbishop Naumann greets parishioners of Queen of the Holy Rosary in Overland Park after blessing the parish’s additions and renovations. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

Pruente was also grateful to take on a leadership role, as he’s worked in commercial construction throughout his professional life, and this was his last project.

“It’s nice that a dream or something we’ve been thinking about for years happens,” said Pruente. “It’s a very uplifting feeling.”

In his homily, Archbishop Naumann told parishioners that additions like the Fiat Center are an encouraging sign for a parish.

“Buildings aren’t the most important thing, but they are important to us,” he said. “And one of the signs of a vital parish is this care for the facilities and the buildings.

“I congratulate you on the accomplishments of this and the generosity of the parish community and the care and attention to the church but also all the facilities here.”

At the end of Mass, Father Bruning thanked everyone who was involved in the project and all of his parishioners for their support.

“You are an amazing, generous group,” he said. “Thank you so much for taking on this powerful task for the future.”

To view more photos from the Mass and blessing, follow us on Facebook.

About the author

Moira Cullings

Moira attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park and Benedictine College in Atchison. She majored in marketing, minored in psychology and played center midfield for the women’s soccer team. Moira joined The Leaven staff as a feature writer and social media editor in 2015. After a move to Denver, Moira resumed her full-time position at The Leaven and continues to write and manage its website, social media channels. Her favorite assignment was traveling to the Holy Land to take photos for a group pilgrimage in 2019.

Leave a Comment