COLUMBIA—The future of ministry at St. Joseph Church officially has a new home in a ministries and administration building that was dedicated on June 19.
Msgr. Richard D. Harris, pastor, led a solemn vespers service and then formally dedicated the new building in front of a crowd of more than 100 people. He read prayers of dedication and blessed the front and the inside of the building with holy water.
After the blessing, people surged through the front doors, headed down hallways and climbed the stairs to check out the new facilities. Many stood in line to sign their name in a book commemorating the event.
The building, which fronts on Devine Street, is part of a $3.5 million capital campaign started in 2013.
“Some people here tonight probably thought we would never see this day, but there are plenty of others who never doubted it,” Msgr. Harris said. “We may have gotten frustrated at times, but in our lives as Christians we know that God works on his own schedule … we have placed the Lord at the center of all of our projects and we now have a building where we can witness to our love of God and the Catholic faith.”
The 20,000-square-foot structure includes administrative offices, rooms for senior and youth ministry, and the parish respite care program, plus conference rooms, a catering kitchen, a reception hall and storage space.
Ursuline Hall, the large reception area on the second floor, was named in honor of the Ursuline Sisters who have served at the parish and taught at St. Joseph School for more than 40 years.
One of the most distinctive elements of the new building is a large wooden crucifix bearing an abstract image of Christ that hangs on a wall above the front entrance. The cross was crafted from the wood of a 100-year-old cedar tree that stood on the church property but was destroyed in a February windstorm.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone sent a congratulatory letter to the parish, which Msgr. Harris read during the vespers service.
“This building is a testament to your love and dedication to St. Joseph,” Bishop Guglielmone wrote. “The parish and the city of Columbia should be very proud of what you have done.”
Carter Jumper Sease of West Columbia were the architects, and Hood Construction of Columbia served as contractors.
Lori Long, a parishioner at St. Joseph, had the honor of being the primary architect.
“I’m just very proud and so privileged to have worked on the project,” she said. “I think this is going to be a great place for our parish family to share and to have lots of good fellowship. This building is going to give us all a lot of good memories.”
Miscellany photos/Christina Lee Knauss