St. John the Apostle Parish Breaks Ground for New Church
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Since the dedication of a parish center in 1992, St. John's parish in Leesburg has been anticipating the construction of a new church. Plans that began almost a decade ago will now begin to unfold after Saturday's groundbreaking ceremony.
RESTON, VA (Catholic Online) - On Saturday afternoon the parishioners of St. John the Apostle in Leesburg gathered with their pastor, Fr. John Paul Mosimann, and Bishop Paul Loverde to break ground for their new church and fellowship hall. What had been a dream for almost two decades was about to come into reality.
The groundbreaking ceremony was the climax of a two-year capital funds campaign with the parish raising more than $7 million during a time of economic downturn. The new 28,500 square foot church, with seating for 1,100 and parish hall, was initially estimated to cost around $13 million.
During the event, Bill Knauer who chaired the Building Committee had these remarks:
"When we started this journey, it was difficult to envision this day - so many unknowns, so many challenges - but here we are celebrating our GB - today, we start moving dirt with a few shovels; in a few days, bulldozers will be grading the site; then a steel structure appears; and finally, before we realize it, with God's blessings, we will be celebrating Easter 2012 in our new St John the Apostle church.
To set the stage for my remarks, I would like to read an excerpt from the Father Mosimann's Vision Statement for the new church - ".Saint John the Apostle is depicted as an eagle because his Gospel, from beginning to end, soars to the throne of heaven. It is my hope that our architecture be profoundly inspired by the words of Saint John's Gospel, particularly the joyful words spoken in the prologue: 'the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth.'"
"Today, it is my pleasure to report that our church design has been inspired by St John's words - our exterior design features tall spires culminating in a 130 foot bell tower visible from miles around, and on the inside, a vaulted ceiling uplifting our eyes and our mind to Heaven."
He then told those in attendance that the design for the new church was guided by four basic principles.
"When we started formulating our church design requirements, we identified 4 guiding principles:
- Incorporate the rich culture of traditional Catholic architecture
- Remember our 130 year Catholic legacy in Leesburg
- Recognize our location as a welcoming gateway to historic Leesburg
- Have sufficient seating to meet the demands of future growth"
In addition to design work and the fund raising campaign, the parish also bathed their project in prayer including over 2 million "Hail Mary's."
When the campaign was first introduced in September of 2008, Fr. Mosimann remarked, "Our most pressing need is for a new Church. 16 months ago, when the bishop asked me if I wanted to be Pastor of St. John's, the first question he asked me was, 'Are you willing to build a Church for the people of Leesburg?' My answer was a resounding, 'YES!' From the Bishop, to the youngest members of our parish, we are all aware of this serious need."
The original building for St. John's, located at the corner of King and Union Street, was dedicated in 1878 and is still in operation today for daily Mass and other smaller services. In 1992 they dedicated their Parish Center on land purchased adjacent to the old church. The facility housed offices, a pre-school and a multi-purpose room for Mass and fellowship activities. During the early 2000's church leaders began in earnest to develop plans for the new church. Since that time the parish, which has grown to over 2,500 registered families, dreamed of the day when a church facility would be built.
The timetable for construction is approximately 16 months, but most parishioners said they don't mind as they will be able to watch their new building rise up on the land.
Leesburg Mayor Kristen Umstattd, Loudoun County Supervisor Kelly Burk (D-Leesburg), the project architects and representatives from Whiting-Turner Construction joined church leaders for the groundbreaking ceremony.
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