By Jodi Magellanes
WARSAW — Praying that it would serve as “a place of salvation and sacraments,” Bishop John M. D’Arcy blessed and rededicated Sacred Heart Parish in Warsaw on Sept. 12, after the church and school were both physically expanded in a construction project that wrapped up this spring.
To ease crowding, and at the suggestion of the diocesan committee on art and environment, the entire sanctuary was moved 40 feet to the west during the 2008-09 construction. Yet further west, a 32-seat chapel was added roughly where an adoration chapel had stood. A shared tabernacle remains between the two.
The parish’s namesake in stained glass moved west as well, as did both sides of the church — creating an alcove on each side of the widened sanctuary, one of which now houses musical instruments and the other, altar server seats and a handicap ramp.
Pews for 200 additional worshippers were added in the main church area as a result of the enlargement, and four classrooms in the school, which are being utilized as fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms. A fourth, multipurpose room where art, music and science classes can be held means that third grader Rachel Boyle is no longer singing in the school library.
“It’s nice to have the extra space for music. She’s in the choir, just sang at the Mass,” Dad Pat Boyle said after the rededication Mass. “The kids seem to really be enjoying it.”
“They seem to be very happy with the results. Everyone seems to think it’s a little warmer,” concurred pastor Msgr. James Wolf.
“This church is the church of the Sacred Heart, the church of Jesus pouring out his love for us from his Sacred Heart … That’s where the church began — with the pouring out of his love, his sacrifice,” Bishop D’Arcy said, relating Jesus’ cross of death and resurrection with the cross of Warsaw parishioners, who took on the burden of paying for the renovations themselves over a three-year period between 2005 and 2008. The $1.9 million cost was lessened by many donations, particularly that of free labor, according to project coordinator Chuck Whitcraft. The parish’s Knights of Columbus chapter did much of that labor and also took it upon themselves to refinish the baptismal font in a more attractive color, he said.
The parish is already holding some weekday Masses in the new chapel. Whitcraft said that 24-hour access to the chapel from an outside door is a feature that will soon be available to worshippers as well.
Bishop D’Arcy prayed that those present for the 11 a.m. rededication Mass would experience the presence of God, and told parishioners that the consecration of the stones used in the construction was really a consecration and blessing of the living stones who make up the parish faith community.
An outdoor parish picnic followed the rededication Mass.
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