Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Our Lady of Snows moves her toes

Catholic church begins drive for new space

Express Staff Writer

An architect's rendering by Jim McLaughlin displays the future look of the new Our Lady of the Snows Church.

"I'm happy as a gopher in soft dirt," said Father John Morgan of Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church in Sun Valley, as he surveyed an assembly of parishioners. They were gathered at the church on Sun Valley Road Thursday, Dec. 15, to kick off a $4.5 million dollar campaign drive to build a new sanctuary.

"It will have a dedicated worship space. Right now it's multi purpose," Pastor Life Director Teresa Gregory said. The new sanctuary will be built of glass, wood and stone, and seat approximately 400 people. A sunlit lower floor with glass walls will hold the church's offices, classrooms, parish hall and kitchen.

Ground breaking will be in the summer of 2006 with a hopeful completion by spring of 2007, said architect Jim McLaughlin. The congregation will remain in the existing church until then, as the new space will be built immediately behind it to the north.

A candle shone outside of the parish hall window. Morgan pointed it out, saying, "That's where the front door will be."

The parish office that once served as the rectory will be sold and moved. Gregory hopes it can become an affordable housing unit.

Although the parish hasn't actually outgrown the current building, which was built in the 1960s, Gregory said, "It's the projection of all these part-time folks and our full-time population. We can have parish dinners, receptions and meetings in a separate area."

Currently, the parish hall is connected to the sanctuary and can be used for overflow. However, its uses are limited as only one thing can be planned at a time.

"It's a reallocation of the space with no conflicts," McLaughlin said.

"It's a beautiful concept," Gregory said, looking at the displayed rendering. "We want it to be accessible to the community for arts, education, music, anything."

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