by Kara Hansen
BASEHOR — It’s been a long time coming — 20 years, in fact. But parishioners at Holy Angels Church here now know that the new church they’ve been waiting for will be only the beginning.
That’s because the church itself is just one component of an overall plan that includes a new social hall and a school for this growing parish.
“Almost everyone recognizes the need for a new church now,” said Father Rockers, pastor of Holy Angels. “We’re seeing ever more new faces in the congregation, and standing-room-only is a frequent experience.”
Fortunately, and at long last, said the pastor, “We’re on our way now.”
While Holy Angels has been flooded with new parishioners in recent years, it has its share of longtime parishioners as well. Many of them have been looking forward to a new church since discus- sions began two decades ago.
“A good number of the parish has contributed to the building fund for the past 20 years. For all the parishioners, but them especially, this is seen as ‘at last, hooray, we’re getting started,’” said Father Rockers.
When expansion began to look feasible two years ago, a building committee was created. On the financial end of things, some 60 parishioners have been involved in the capital campaign committee whose goal is to raise $1.5 million.
“I think it’s exciting. This has been a long time coming — I’ve been a member of the parish for 20 years and people have been talking about building at least that long,” said Therese Horvat, a parishioner and chairperson of the capital campaign. “We’ve really outgrown our space and need a larger place to worship.”
The new church will have space for approximately 900 people, compared to the 250 seats in the current church. Seats will be arranged in a fan-shaped half circle around the altar. The ceiling will be made of exposed wood, similar in style to that of the St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at the University of Kansas. Mike Shaughnessy, the architect who designed the St. Lawrence Center, is also the architect of the new Holy Angels Church.
A groundbreaking and site blessing were held May 18 immediately following the 9 a.m. Mass. Parishioners gathered at the new building site, located just behind the existing church building. After Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann blessed the site with holy water, several parishioners and others instrumental to the building process broke ground with golden shovels.
Petitions were offered for the building of the new church as well as the faith of the parishioners. A quilt, made by several parishioners, was raffled off, with the $500 raised going into the building fund.
“I think we’re really growing in the area faster than expected, and it’s nice to know there are so many people of faith here. I hope that only grows stronger,” said Anna Mary Landauer, a parishioner and honorary chair of the capital campaign.