St. Raphael's unveils transformed church
The new church for St Raphael Parish will be dedicated as part of a special Mass on Saturday, Aug. 22, at 4:30 p.m. The Most Reverend Richard G. Lennon, Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland, will preside and consecrate the church. Reverend Timothy W. Gareau, pastor, will concelebrate.
The new building is fan-shaped with a capacity of 1,100 and continues to front on Dover Center Road. The ceremonial entrance will be on the north side of the building. The stained glass windows, crucifix, tabernacle and main altar are from the old church and all of the remaining marble from the old church has been repurposed and incorporated into the new church. A chapel will hold about 75 people. A community room that accommodates functions for up to 200 people was also built.
Father Tim Gareau is eagerly anticipating the reveal of the transformed church building, which took just over a year to construct. The $6.6 million project kicked off with a feasibility study and capital campaign in 2011; the groundbreaking was in June 2014.
“We are really excited," Fr. Tim said. "Our church is an icon of faith to the city of Bay Village. It is an expression of our love for Jesus Christ and his presence in our lives where we will gather to worship. Our faith community has been very patient throughout our transition which is a testimony of their living faith. Speaking of living faith, underneath our altar are decorated stones from the homes of our people. They have become a bedrock of grace of Christ present in their lives."
The team of volunteers, staff and contractors worked together to smooth the transition. "Our parish has put together a phenomenal team under the guidance of Kris McGivney, our project manager, who has given countless hours to help make the project a success," said Fr. Tim. "Our Parish Staff has lovingly made the transition an inspiration and a time of formation for our people. Our architects and general contractor have worked together in a very positive and dedicated manner. We have all been a tremendous team.”
The community is welcome to an Open House on Sunday, Aug. 23, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Vespers will begin at 4 p.m.
St Raphael Parish has grown to over 3,500 families. Over 80 ministries are available to meet the needs of the parish community and those in need. The school is a Blue-Ribbon School with an enrollment of 750 students. Another 500 students participate in the Parish School of Religion.