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Holy Family Parish in Greenville is pleased to announce the start of the “Beginning a New Century of Faith” capital campaign, with a goal of constructing a new church, parish hall and offices, and renovating the current rectory.
“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.”
“It would be a lot to repair it,” said Steve Bilodeau, chair of the parish’s building committee. “We’re thinking in excess of a million dollars, but then, you’re still left with a century-old church that is difficult to get in, and that isn’t designed for the community.”
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, which will be constructed at the current church site on 145 Pritham Avenue, will also contain a new parish hall and offices. Across a 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.
The new building will preserve the parish’s history and tradition while offering new amenities. All eighteen nave and sanctuary stained glass windows will be removed, restored, and reinstalled into the new church in the same locations. The original confessionals and woodworking, tabernacle, and baptismal font will be incorporated. A beautiful spire will have the current cross memorial reinstalled at its top. The 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, bell, and spire will have the ability to be lit at night. The narthex, or the gathering area between the entrance and the church, 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 over new carpeting with increased spacing between the pews.
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 room of its kind in town,” said Bilodeau. “We look forward to the community using it.”
The initial project timetable calls for the demolition of the current church in May of 2017. The construction of the new church, sanctuary, and nave would be completed by December of 2017. In 2018, the new parish offices and parish hall would be constructed inside the new church building, and improvements would be made to the rectory.
In total, cost projections are nearly $1.7 million, but fundraising is already underway: a construction loan will be provided by the Diocesan Savings & Loan; Catholic Extension, a national fundraising organization which supports and strengthens dioceses across the country, will provide an additional grant; and individual donors have already contributed over $700,000.
Keeping the project on schedule would allow the new church to be opened by Christmas of 2017, which is the 100th anniversary of the parish.
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.