Swift Current parish celebrates completion of new church
After years of dedicated effort to raise funds for a new church building, members of the Christ the Redeemer Roman Catholic Parish in Swift Current finally have a new sanctuary for worship.
A church dedication and grand opening celebration of the new structure took place on July 8.
Archbishop Donald Bolen of the Regina Archdiocese presided at the morning mass and church dedication. Afterwards parishioners enjoyed a pancake breakfast and there were various children’s activities.
An open house with a grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting took place in the afternoon. A number of dignitaries spoke during the ceremony.
Pastor Kevin Snyder brought greetings on behalf of the Swift Current and Area Ministerial Association.
“I think having this new facility also makes many things new in terms of your life and your future,” he said. “It's a statement about the vision that you have and the vision for God's kingdom, and as a ministerial we get excited when any church is growing and moving ahead and is vibrant and alive.”
Rev. Msgr. Reymundo Asis, who has been the parish priest at Christ the Redeemer for almost two years, said the completion of the building was a wonderful accomplishment that happened as a result of people’s strong faith in God and trust in each other.
“I consider myself just a beneficiary, a recipient of the good works that you have done as a family, as a community, as a church,” he mentioned. “I'm enjoying the benefits that the previous pastors have worked towards the completion of this church. So my deepest gratitude and congratulation.”
Rev. Richard Jasiak, the previous parish priest at Christ the Redeemer, attended the celebration and was asked to speak during the ceremony.
“I'm so glad to be here, it’s like coming home,” he said. “It's already two years that I moved from Swift Current, but coming here is like coming to family.”
He felt it was God's will for them to have this church, even though there were various obstacles along the way.
“You prayed, you asked God's will and now we have it, and I'm very proud of you,” he said.
Shay Francis spoke on behalf of the youth of the parish. He felt excited to invite people to attend worship in the new building.
“This is a beautiful building and this is such a beautiful place to praise God and to celebrate the mass,” he said.
Mayor Denis Perrault congratulated parishioners on behalf of council for their resilience to get the project completed. He noted that Swift Current is in growth mode and he thanked the parish for investing in the community.
“We are growing because great things can happen when all of us work together for a better community,” he said. “Having this house of worship will ensure Catholics today and into the future have a place to gather.”
Gord Hagen, who chairs the building committee, expressed gratitude towards the members of the committee for staying focused for 18 years. He also thanked parishioners for their faith in the project, and he thanked the architects and construction company for their contributions. “It's been a long, long trip,” he said. Hagen has been on the building committee since the start and he chaired the group for about 11 years.
“Our biggest challenge probably was the fact that we took so long in getting here because the construction cost climbed dramatically in the last eight to 10 years,” he said after the ribbon cutting ceremony.
“So it was almost exceeding our capacity to earn money and put money away, just climbing at such a rate that either you had to get it now or you’ll never going to be able to build it.”
The construction project added a new church sanctuary of about 11,000 square feet to the existing 12,000 square feet building.
The total cost of the project is $5.3 million, which was financed through $1.8 million in cash and pledges as well as a parochial fund loan of $3.5 million.
Some items were excluded from the construction project as a cost saving measure and will be added in the future.
These deferred items include an exterior bell tower, a baptismal font, the paving of the new parking lot area, new sidewalks around the existing building and curbs around the entire parking lot area, a new roof on the existing building, and improvements to the second floor of the existing building.
The new church was designed to provide seating to 630 people, but as a cost saving measure the existing pews will remain in use.
The length of these pews will reduce the church seating capacity to 550, but an additional 125 seats are available in the flex area at the back of the new church space.
The former church area in the existing building will now be used as a large hall with banquet seating for almost 300 people. The previous main hall now becomes a smaller, secondary hall with banquet seating for 150 people.
According to Hagen there are close to 1,000 Catholic families in the city and the new church building will help to unite the congregation, because there is now only one mass on Sunday instead of two.
“I’m meeting new people that I hadn’t even met before who have been going to the parish for quite some time, but just at different mass times,” he said. “So the sense of bringing all of the parishioners together in a common space and getting to know them all is going to be one of the real advantages we’ll see going forward, because it really unites the parish.”
The large new church building is an addition to the existing structure.
Building Committee Chairperson Gord Hagen speaks during the grand opening ceremony, July 8.
The bright and airy church space has a gently sloping floor for increased visibility.
People gather outside the new church building for a grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting, July 8.