Southside church on target to open before Christmas 2015

The exterior of Corpus Christi Church is seen from 34th Street

PHOTO | INGRID VAN DOLDER-FRIGON

The exterior of Corpus Christi Church is seen from 34th Street

January 12, 2015
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Expectation is increasing among Corpus Christi parishioners as their new 1,500-seat church continues to go up without a hitch.

The church, now more than half-built, is expected to be ready by December. "It's all up. We will celebrate Christmas at Corpus Christi in 2015," vows Father Jim Corrigan, the pastor.

"What I have been telling people is, 'Take a drive by 34th Street and 28th Avenue and take a look at the church that you are building because it's really quite amazing.'"

Construction began in March 2014. Clark Construction, the builder, is committed to be finished by the fall of 2015. "I'm very pleased with how things are going," commented Corrigan.

"We are on track to open the first Sunday of Advent," said an excited Deacon Gem Mella. "The walls are up, the ceiling is up and even the parking lot is paved."

Mella, a member of Corpus Christi's parish pastoral council and of the building committee, said parishioners can't wait to move into the new church. "They are all very excited."

This Interior view of the new church shows the roof line, facing toward the main entrance.

PHOTO | INGRID VAN DOLDER-FRIGON

This Interior view of the new church shows the roof line, facing toward the main entrance.

"It's very interesting on the inside because it's just the metal framing right now but you can see the high roof and the cruciform shape (of the building)," said Ingrid van Dolder-Frigon, chair of the parish's building committee. "It's very spiritually uplifting."

The 300-family parish was born homeless and since 2004 it has been celebrating Masses in two schools – Holy Family and Father Michael Troy Junior High. In 2011, for the sake of unity, the parish decided to celebrate only at Father Michael Troy. About 300 people attend each Mass.

"We built up the people and together with God we have been building this new church," van Dolder-Frigon said. "It's very exciting."

So far the parish has raised more than $5.8 million. Total cost of construction is estimated at $14 million.

"It's a slow process," lamented Corrigan. "Down the road we are looking at asking people if they would be willing to renew their pledges." A lot of people have pledged $20 a week for five years for a total of $5,000.

As well, the parish has a business plan that includes hosting a gala fundraiser for Oct. 3 at the Shaw Conference Centre. Tickets go for $250 each. Church officials hope to raise $8 million by the end of the year.

"However, between $5 million and $6 million it's been a real challenge," Corrigan said. "But it is God's church so we will receive the resources we need to get it paid for."

People who have taken the drive by the site of the new church are excited.

"They think the church is remarkable and beautiful," Corrigan said. "I hope that there is a whole bunch of Catholics over there in southeast Edmonton that are going to be excited coming to that church."