BY LAURA PFIZENMAYER
LAKE WYLIE — A 23-year-old dream for All Saints Mission came to fruition on All Saints’ Day Nov. 1. Bishop Robert J. Baker celebrated the dedication Mass for a new $1.9 million worship center.
The Mass was concelebrated by the three Oratorian pastors who have served at the mission: Father Joseph Pearce, the current pastor; Father Edward McDevitt, pastor from 1992-2004; and Father John Giuliani, pastor from 1983-1992. Also concelebrating Mass were Oratorian priests Fathers Joseph Wahl, William Pentis, David Valtierra and Oratorian associate Father Roger Prokop.
The ceremonies began outside the church, where the congregation gathered. Vince Mooney, parish council president, formally presented the keys to Bishop Baker. The congregation was then led into the church by the cross bearer, along with the Knights of Columbus honor guard, priests and the bishop.
Bishop Baker blessed the altar, the people and the church. The dedication Mass also included lighting of the altar and the church, and the blessing of the chalices and vessels.
A reception followed in the new classrooms.
The new worship center seats 300 and can be expanded to seat 450. Attendance has already risen dramatically in the two weeks since the mission moved from River Hills Community Church, where services were held for the last few years. According to Father Pearce, the average attendance at River Hills was 230 people. On the second weekend at the new site, attendance was 550. The Mass schedule has expanded from a single Saturday celebration to include a 9:30 a.m. Sunday liturgy.
The worship center was designed by Mike Berry of WKWW Architects of Charlotte and was built by Price and Hill Inc. of Matthews, N.C. The facility contains office space, a full kitchen and classrooms.
“We know that our mission as Catholics in York County is not yet finished,” Father Pearce said. “We look ahead to a bright future with the same determination and commitment that has carried us to this day. We can also look back with pride at our past to see the growth over the years, remembering the sacrifices many people have made. Some have returned home to Our Father in Heaven, others have moved away and many remain in our midst today.”
Father Pearce thanked Joe DePalma of the building committee, John Schohn and Gene Berres of the finance council, Vince Mooney, Tom and Sue Stall of the dedication committee and all those who served on the various building subcommittees.
“They trusted in God’s plan and they acted upon it,” the pastor said.