April 2, 2007

St. Peter’s Catholic Church planned addition to help with handicapped accessibility

By Cullen Schultz
Staff Writer

St. Peter’s Catholic Church has been a staple in the Delano community for over 100 years, and church leaders are making improvements to their parish to ensure they will be around for many more years.

St. Peter’s Catholic Church was established in 1864, with the first church being built the following year, 1865. The church was located outside of town, where the St. Peter’s Cemetery now stands.

In 1868, Delano was starting to expand, and since there were many Catholic families living in Delano, the decision was made to move St. Peter’s into Delano. Construction began and the church was completed in 1874.

St. Peter’s Church in Delano, as it is known today, is the third church the parish has built. It was constructed in 1913, and has been a significant part of the Catholic community in Delano.

As time went on, changes have taken place.

In 1988, the Archbishop had to staff more churches with less priests, thus he decided to join St. Peter’s with St. Joseph’s, and formed what is now known as the Delano Catholic Community.

Now, the Delano Catholic Community is taking big steps to improve St. Peter’s Catholic Church, by putting on an addition that will give the church more room, and handicap accessibility.

“We are looking to the future,” Administrator Cheryl Prososki said.

The addition will be built between St. Peter’s church and school, and will start in the beginning of June.

“It will take five to six months to complete,” Prososki said.

The main priority for the addition is to make the church more handicap accessible. For the last 20 years, it has been a goal for the church to be able to do this, and with the growing number of handicapped and elderly, it must be done.

“There are 43 families affected, who can’t attend Mass because of accessibility,” Prososki said.

Currently, there are 246 parishioners who are over the age of 65, so the need for the addition is crucial to the immediate and near future for the parishioners to attend Mass.

To improve access to the church, the addition will include a three-stop elevator, with the levels stopping at the parking lot, church basement, and upper church; handicap accessible restrooms, and a ramp leading from church level to the upper classrooms of St. Peter’s school.

To go along with the accessibility improvements, the church is also installing air conditioning, improving lighting, safety, and adding a fellowship hall and a Eucharistic Adoration Chapel.

“It is a major project to be undertaking,” Prososki said.

The safety improvements are still being discussed, but thoughts are on adding a coding system. The coding system would allow them to limit access to the church after hours, but at the same time, allow parishioners to enter the bathrooms and the chapel if the need arises.

“We may add a coding system and have a more well-lit area,” Prososki said.

The fellowship hall will be an open area that will be able to seat up to 100 people. The hall will also have the ability to be divided into three smaller rooms, seating 30 people to a room.

“It will be one big room, and it can be broken into three separate rooms,” Prososki said.

The hall will have a video system, one for each room if it is divided, and can be used for baby showers, religion classes, speakers, small wakes, and will also be available for rent.

“It will be a nice meeting space for the community,” Prososki said.

The Eucharistic Adoration Chapel will hold 10 to 15 people, and allow people the practice of adoration. The goal for the Delano Catholic Community is to eventually have perpetual adoration at St. Peter’s Church.

The total cost for the improvements and additions is $2,100,000. The Delano Catholic Community is sponsoring the “All are Welcome Capital Campaign” to raise money. The goal is to raise $1,900,000 in the next three years.

The fundraising campaign is relying on contributions from families in the parish. One scenario to raise the money would have families donate a certain amount of money for three years, by paying in a lump sum, yearly or monthly. The donations would consist of 40 families donating $21,000, 75 families donating $5,400, and 320 families donating $2,340 in a three-year span.

To lower the amount of fundraising needed, the parish has also decided to do some of the work itself, and is looking to hire 16 subcontractors to work on such things as concrete, electricity, flooring, and roofing.

“We are handling that in-house,” Prososki said.

Other work that will be done in house includes organizing plans, handling publications, as well as hiring subcontractors.

“We are handling publications such as newsletters, flyers, advertisements, and talking at Mass,” Prososki said.

For more information on the addition, the Catholic community, or sub contracting work, visit the Catholic Community’s web site at www.delanocatholic.com, or call (763) 972-2077.

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