Church to break ground on long-awaited expansion


March 15, 2002|By Peg Adamarczyk | Peg Adamarczyk,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FOR SIXTEEN years, parishioners at Our Lady of the Chesapeake Catholic Church have longed for a little breathing room at the Pasadena church. On Sunday, their dream will be one step closer to reality as they gather for the groundbreaking ceremony of The Gathering Place, a new community center and banquet facility.

The building housing the parish opened in March 1986. At the time, worshippers were elated that their semi-nomadic congregation finally had a permanent home, but space to accommodate various community services was limited.

As the parish grew under its former pastor, the Rev. Walter J. Paulits, the pressing need for more space continued to be a problem. The church serves more than 1,300 parishioners.

"Space has always been at a premium," said Jeannie Williams, church spokeswoman. "We have never really had a centrally located area to house our religious education classes or church meetings."

With the groundbreaking for The Gathering Place, the church will add about 13,000 square feet to the facility. The new building will include seven multipurpose rooms, office space, a media center and a 250-seat banquet hall with full kitchen facilities, Williams said.

"It's so exciting," she said. "We'll finally have the space to open our rooms to the community."

Construction should begin within the next few weeks and is scheduled to be finished by fall.

The parish's pastor, the Rev. Brian J. Rafferty, is relieved that the church has made it through the maze of community surveys, approval from the Baltimore archdiocese, blueprints, meetings with architects and contractors.

"I'm in seventh heaven that we have gotten this far," he said. "All we are waiting for is the final approval from the county, which should come through any day now. This is such a positive sign of growth for our community."

Sunday's ceremony will begin at noon with a prayer composed by Paulits, who is a regular participant in the community worship.

Because Sunday is St. Patrick's Day, Rafferty has chosen to add a few bagpipe players and a harpist to the celebration. The Back Pew Boys from the neighboring Mount Carmel United Methodist Church will perform.

"We have so much to celebrate, and it couldn't be on a more perfect day than St. Patrick's Day," Rafferty said with a chuckle.

The church is at 8325 Ventnor Road.

Information: 410-255-3677.

St. Patrick's Day bazaar

Start your weekend of shamrock celebrations at St. Jane Frances' annual St. Patrick's Day bazaar from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. today in the school/parish hall, 8513 St. Jane Drive.

Games are planned for wee lads and lassies, with prizes geared to the younger set. Face painting and a duck pond will be featured, cotton candy and crafts will be sold, and "Mr. Burinski's Country Store" will sell handmade crafts and specialty items.

The kitchen will be open for lunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., serving shrimp soup, shrimp salad platters, French fries, nachos, pizza and hot dogs. Bazaar activities during the evening are geared toward adults, with beer, wine and Irish coffee added to menu, and a Big Six wheel with cash prizes.

Several raffles will be held throughout the day, including a raffle for a basket of cheer, and the winning-of-the-green raffle with a $1,000 top prize.

Proceeds from the bazaar will benefit St. Jane Frances School.

Information: 410-255-4646.

`Oklahoma!' on stage

The Chesapeake High School theater group presents its spring musical production of Oklahoma! at 7 p.m. today, tomorrow and March 22 and 23 in the school auditorium.

Admission is $8 for adults and students, and $6 for seniors and children younger than 12.

Featured performers include Ron Young, Jessica Hale, Crystal Day, Paul Schaughency, Christopher Uhl, Jennifer Kohlhafer, Scott Reichert, Nathan Volke, Jon Papas, Drew Rock, Josh Meredith, Tabitha Sizemore, Christie Voith, Lauren Hogue, Stephen Baguley and Marty Schmidt.

The production is directed by Karen and Tim Simmons. Sarah Jester is assistant director. Rose Mullikin is the choreographer, Becky Robely is stage manager and Sarah Silanskis is assistant stage director.

Information: 410-255-5234.

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