“This is a positive time for us. There is a lot of growth here, and a lot of parishioners involved in countless activities,” he told The Catholic Witness.
The latest endeavor is the $1.8 million expansion on the parish’s Grandview Road campus, situated on a sprawling vista just south of town.
The new addition is the St. Joseph School and Education Center. Bishop Ronald Gainer dedicated it on Aug. 13, celebrating Mass for the parish community before blessing the new facility.
The completed project includes eight new classrooms that will be shared by St. Joseph School and St. Joseph School of Religious Instruction (SRI), as well as new offices for the school principal and SRI coordinator, and a new computer lab, library and playground for all students receiving Catholic education there.
“The first word that I must share with you is ‘Congratulations,’” Bishop Gainer told the parish community in his homily. “This addition…is a great tribute for all of you.”
“A project like this is like an invitation to walk on water like Jesus did to Peter in the Gospel reading today…. A project like this requires taking a great risk, and that risk requires trusting each other, which you clearly do in this parish. This is a new chapter for Catholic education in the Hanover area,” he said.
Some 450 youth are enrolled in the parish’s School of Religious Instruction; approximately 180 students attend St. Joseph School, which welcomes students in grades PreK-8.
The new facility allows the school to have all grades on one campus. The school building on Baltimore Street downtown, which previously housed PreK-5, is now closed, as the elementary students will move into the Grandview Road facility at the start of this academic year.
“We’re excited to have a brand new campus, where all of our children of God are placed in our care,” said St. Joseph School Principal, Terrance Golden. “The new facility brings all of us – school students, religious education students and parishioners – together as one to celebrate Church.”
The 11,981-square-foot facility also offers adult reading rooms and space for such groups as the Scouts and the parish’s Hispanic Ministry. The parish’s Hispanic community, as a group, is seeking to raise $30,000 toward the addition over the next three years, and is doing so via various fund-raisers, one of which was a taco sale following the Aug. 13 Mass and dedication.
Leading up to the dedication, the parish offered guided tours of the work site and open houses to allow parishioners to see the progress and the project of which they are a part.
“The parishioners have made this project work,” Msgr. Lyons remarked. “We had town hall meetings in exploring the project, and everyone from the Parish Council, Building Committee and Capital Campaign Committee, to those who helped move the classroom materials here from Baltimore Street are to be commended.”
“The parishioners have been generous in their support of this effort,” he said. “A lot of people have stepped up and responded, and the capital campaign is going very well.”
St. Joseph Parish is home to some 7,800 parishioners.
“Our hope is that we can attract people who are moving in, as there has been a great deal of growth in this area,” Msgr. Lyons said. “We want them to know that we’re here, as we ourselves continue to grow.”
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness