Pastor to leave St. Joseph parish With foundation solid for new church plans, other service calls

June 10, 1996|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

The St. Joseph Catholic community in Eldersburg will break ground for its new church in September but without the pastor who spearheaded the building campaign.

The Rev. Theodore K. Cassidy is departing after more than a decade to become director of novices, training men for the priesthood, at the Marianist Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

His charge dwindles from 2,500 families to a few novices. But the work is just as vital because the Roman Catholic Church will rely heavily on those novices, he said.

"We need people who can study and understand this prophetic life; people who try to understand what God's spirit is saying and model their lives after that," Cassidy said.

While he has "loved being part of the growth, creativity and energy" of a parish still growing by about 120 families a year, Cassidy is ready for a change. His new post will give him time to write about philosophical issues, an occupation for which a pastor has little time.

"Life is a journey," he said. "I will continue on."

St. Joseph bade farewell to its pastor yesterday with Mass, a reception, gifts and testaments.

"His loss will make a difference," said Fran Seymour, church business manager. "He has educated us as part of his tenure here. The outreach ministries that started with him will continue."

Succeeding Cassidy will be the Rev. Patrick Tonry, also a Marianist priest, who will arrive in August from the University of Dayton, where he is vice president.

Tonry has participated in much of the building's planning process.

"The new pastor is just as enthusiastic about the building," Seymour said.

"Changing leaders will not pose difficulties for the project. We have had a committee of parishioners working on this for five years. The mechanics are in place to continue the job and get it done."

The church has about half the $2.8 million needed for the 18,000-square-foot building and is awaiting bids. With 13 acres along Route 26, St. Joseph has room to grow.

Architects have designed a crescent-shaped brick building behind the existing buildings. It could hold about 800 people in a seating arrangement that fans out from the altar.

"We didn't want anyone to be farther than 65 feet from the altar," Seymour said. "We would rather schedule more Masses than make the new church any bigger."

Plans also call for a chapel, with a separate entrance, for daily Mass and more intimate celebrations. The parking lot will be expanded to about 300 spaces.

About 2,800 people attend the four weekend Masses at the Eldersburg church and two other Masses at the original stone church in Sykesville, which probably will become a shrine.

Although Carroll County is temporarily restricting development, Seymour said he expects little difficulty in getting the church project approved.

Once the building is completed, possibly by Christmas 1997, the next project will be conversion of the existing church into offices, meeting areas and classrooms.

"Church growth is the result of what has been built here so far," Seymour said.

Several South Carroll churches have expanded recently to accommodate growing congregations.

Pub Date: 6/10/96

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