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St. Pat's new campus to be celebrated

Becky Vargo • Jun 11, 2018 at 12:00 PM

St. Patrick-St. Anthony Catholic Church is opening doors to the public Saturday, June 16, to celebrate and dedicate its new Parish Center and renovated sanctuary and Family Center. 

The church, located on the east side of Beacon Boulevard between Fulton and Columbus avenues, is also celebrating the 160th anniversary of the Catholic Church in the Grand Haven area.

The event will feature a light lunch with a welcome at 12:30 p.m., a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and tours of the facility.

Former parish administrator John Strazenac said the $6.8 million project allows for expanded use of the facility by the church, as well as the community. There’s 15,000 square feet of renovated space and 20,000 square feet of new construction, he said.

Removed during the process was the Family Center annex and the old administration building.

The parish launched a campaign to raise the projected $5.4 million needed in the fall of 2014. The fundraising goal has since been reached, but costs rose and the church is still working to collect a $1.4 million increase.

A construction contract was awarded in 2015 and groundbreaking was held in August 2016. The renovated church opened two days before Holy Week in April 2017 and the new Parish Life Center was occupied last December.

The administrative offices are now located upstairs in the new, handicap-accessible building. Services located in the basement of the old building — Job Seekers, a food pantry, English as a Second Language classes and a GED program — have been relocated in a renovated portion of the Family Center.

The expanded and updated spaces in the new Outreach Center were made possible in part with a grant from the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation’s Zenko Family Field of Interest and Greatest Needs funds.

Strazenac noted that there are a lot more gathering areas of various sizes in the new facility that could be rented out for events such as wedding receptions, bridal showers and graduation parties, as well as smaller meetings.

The first floor houses more conference areas, a nursery, warming kitchen and a much larger lobby or entrance area.

The space between the church and the Family Center is fully enclosed.

The parish still plans to use the large meeting room in the old Family Center, which is where church services were held while the sanctuary was being renovated. 

The sanctuary project included new lights and sound system, with an improved loop in the floor designed to help people with hearing aids get better sound from anything broadcast. Volunteers built new acoustical panels for the walls. The remodeled altar also has a backdrop with acoustical value, Strazanac said.

Volunteers removed the pews and refurbished the older pews in the balcony.

A new lighting structure highlights the Baptistry in the church entry area.

Entry doors were replaced with glass for more lighting and visibility.

New wood trim and renovations were made to the Reconciliation Room (confession) and Adoration Chapel.

The music area was relocated and also received new acoustical panels.

New technology also enables the church to economize on energy use.

The present parish administrator, Jimmy Beauchamp, said there are sensors for heating and cooling as well as sensors, dimmers, timers and motion controls for new LED lights.

160 years of history in Grand Haven

There is conflicting information as to whether the first Catholic Church in the area was built in 1857 in Ferrysburg. There is also information about a mission being established in the same time frame at Mill Point (Spring Lake). 

Both were served by priests from Muskegon’s St. Mary’s Parish. 

St. Patrick’s first resident priest, the Rev. William Takken, was assigned in 1859. Parishioners crossed the Grand River by rowboat or ferry to attend services. 

The first Catholic Church in Grand was erected in 1872 and was possibly rebuilt in the 1880s. The need for a larger church was pushed along in 1953 when the State Highway Department announced plans to reroute U.S. 31 through the city and the church was in its path.

A new church was erected and Mass celebrated in 1957. The Family Center was added in 1973. The center and church were renovated in 1990. In 2012, the former Eastern Floral Shop was transformed into the Parish Youth Center.

St. Patrick’s also started a school in 1919. It closed in 1969.

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