Church plans new building St. Joseph's outgrew old one SOUTHEAST -- Sykesville * Eldersaburg * Gamber

April 21, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

St. Joseph Catholic Community in Sykesville is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year and building a new church for its future.

"We have outgrown our building to some extent," said the Rev. Theodore K. Cassidy, the pastor. "We also must adjust to changes in the liturgy."

Those changes include involving the congregation more actively in liturgical celebrations, he said.

"People used to sit in rows and listen as the celebrant presided, but that was not the style of the first communities," said Father Cassidy. "We should be a participatory community of sharing; no longer passive."

St. Joseph has room to build on its 13 acres at Liberty and Martz roads. At weekend Masses, Mike Hussle, chairman of the renovation committee at the church on Liberty Road, announced plans to build the new church adjacent to the present 30-year-old building.

"The new building will be next to the existing church complex and an integral part of it," said Mr. Hussle.

Phase I of the building plan also provides for a small separate chapel for daily Mass and other smaller functions, he said.

"The chapel will allow us to have liturgies without opening the larger church," said Mr. Hussle.

"Everyone was most receptive to the idea of a new church building," he said. "A lot of people have asked to see sketches."

The 21-member committee plans to request architectural bids as soon as possible, he said, and "hopes to have drawings by the end of summer."

The new facility will have seating for about 800 on three sides of the center altar. In keeping with the theme of communal worship, no one will be more than 65 feet from the altar.

Outside, a contemporary statue of St. Joseph is planned.

Members of the renovation committee have been meeting for about four years but decided formally only last week on the direction to take in expanding the present facility, which now includes a church, offices and gymnasium, Mr. Hussle said.

Originally, members had planned extensive renovations to the present church, but found that project wasn't cost-effective.

Now plans call for conversion of the present 500-seat church into offices, meeting rooms and classrooms when the new church is completed.

If possible, planners would like to break ground early next year and open the new building by spring 1995, Mr. Hussle said.

"Life will go on at the present church during construction of the new building," he said. "All liturgical activities can continue without interruption."

Construction estimates are about $1.4 million, said Mr. Hussle. Renovations to the present building will cost an additional $500,000.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore requires parishes to have half the money for a project in hand before building. Mr. Hussle said he expects to have $750,000 before the groundbreaking. The parish has been raising money for its building fund for two years. It now has about $1.2 million in pledges.

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