GREENVILLE---The “Beginning a New Century of Faith” capital campaign, which began last year with a goal of constructing a new church, parish hall, and offices for Holy Family Parish in Greenville, has raised over $1.5 million dollars and construction is slated to get underway this April (pictured above).
Parishioners are filled with excitement for the new building, a worship site that will preserve the parish’s history and tradition while offering new amenities, but this weekend will bring a bittersweet moment as the parish community bids farewell to the century-old Holy Family Church.
The final Mass at Holy Family, located on 145 Pritham Avenue, will be celebrated on Sunday, March 19, at 8 a.m. The Mass will include a special procession with the statues of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The statues will be stored in the rectory chapel until the new church is constructed. There will also be a second collection during weekend Masses to benefit the Holy Family Building Fund.
The following Saturday (March 25), parish Masses will move to the Union Evangelical Church on Moosehead Lake Road in Greenville (Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at 8 a.m.; confessions on Saturday at 3 p.m.) until the new church is constructed. Demolition of the current building is scheduled to be complete by late April, with construction of the new church to follow at the same site on Pritham Avenue.
“We’ve been talking about it for probably eight or ten years that the building has been deteriorating, and we’ve been putting band aids on it, trying to keep it, but it’s gotten to the point that it’s better to invest in a new building,” said Elizabeth Foote, a member of the parish’s development committee. “We have a lot of older parishioners. We’re an aging community, and they can’t come to the Mass because of the stairs.”
For that reason, in addition to being energy efficient and containing enhancements like radiant heat in the floor, the new building will be one floor with no steps.
“I think because of how it’s going to be on one floor, we will have new members,” said Cecile Shields, who serves on the parish’s building and development committees. “I think that definitely will make a difference for us absolutely.”
The building will also contain a new parish hall and offices. Across from the newly paved parking lot, the current rectory will undergo a variety of interior and exterior renovations and the installation of an attached garage.
During the planning process, project organizers solicited input from many parishioners and discovered that replicating the look and feel of the current church was important to them.
“I think that parishioners are all going to be pleased that it’s going to have a lot of character, and it’s going to have a lot of history that it will carry forward with it,” said Foote.
All eighteen nave and sanctuary stained glass windows will be removed, restored, and reinstalled into the new church in the same locations. The original confessional woodworking, tabernacle, and baptismal font will be incorporated. A beautiful steeple will have the current cross memorial reinstalled at its top. The original Holy Family statue will be placed on the façade of a covered entrance. The church bell will be installed in the belfry over the entrance. The windows, cupola, and steeple will have the ability to be lit at night. The narthex, or the gathering area just outside the church sanctuary, will be warmly lit and appointed so that it is welcoming to all. Inside the new church, 20 white oak pews, which once stood in the Good Shepherd Sisters’ convent in Old Orchard Beach, were gifted to the parish by Good Shepherd Parish in Saco. They will be installed with increased spacing between the pews and fully functional kneelers.
The parish hall will have the capacity to seat over 150 people and will include a new kitchen.
“We believe that the parish hall will be the nicest meeting space of its kind in town,” said Steve Bilodeau, chair of the parish’s building committee. “We look forward to the community using it.”
The construction of the new church, sanctuary, and nave should be completed sometime next winter. The new parish offices and community hall will be completed in the spring of 2018. The rectory renovations are planned for the summer of 2019, contingent on fundraising.
If individuals or businesses would like to make a contribution designated towards “Beginning a New Century of Faith” through the construction of the new church, please contact the parish at (207) 695-2262 or the Diocese of Portland’s Office of Development at (207) 321-7835. Memorial donations can also be made in memory of a relative or friend, or in honor of a birthday or anniversary.