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Little givers

St. Francis de Sales children contribute to new church building

by Kara Hansen 

LANSING — Every week for the past five years, they have donated money to help fund a new church building. But instead of an offering basket, these donations have been placed in a piggy bank — by the generous hands of parish children at St. Francis de Sales here.

“There are little piggy banks shaped like little churches in each of the religious education classrooms,” said Father Mike Stubbs, pastor of St. Francis de Sales. “In the past five years, the children have raised over $7,000.”

All those faithful offerings have been put to good use. The site where St. Francis de Sales’ new church will be located was blessed by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann on Sept. 9, and construction is set to begin this fall.

A new church building cannot come soon enough for the parish of 512 families.

“We are really cramped for space right now, so this will give us some much-needed growing area,” said Father Stubbs.

Events at the current church are filled to capacity. The new church will seat 860 people, accommodating the current size of the parish with plenty of room to grow. It will span 25,000 square feet, including additional area for classrooms, offices, and storage space. The new church will be attached to the current church building, which will then become the parish hall. A new parking lot is also included in the construction plans to accommodate the growth.

“We’re hoping construction will begin in October and finish in about a year from that point,” said Father Stubbs.

Parishioners at St. Francis de Sales still have more funds to raise; the church has completed one capital campaign and has a second one underway. In addition to plans to sell some land owned by the parish, organizers have also employed some creative methods of fundraising, such as a sponsoring a 5K run that was held Sept. 15. But at least the end is in sight.

“I think everyone in the parish is in favor of a new building,” said Gene Young, co-chair of the pledge drive at St. Francis. “We have been working on this for seven years, so it will be nice when everything falls into place.”

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Kara Hansen

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