January 14, 2013

Today's churches were built by our parents and grandparents. Now is an opportune time for us to do the same, said Father Jim Corrigan, and contribute to building a new church for our children and grandchildren.

As more and more pledges continue pouring in, the construction of Corpus Christi Church is closer to becoming a reality for Catholic families of southeast Edmonton.

The eventual 1,500-seat church will be about the same size as St. Theresa's. It will be fan-shaped, similar to St. Theresa's, St. Charles and Holy Trinity churches. Because this is Christ's church, Corrigan said the project's success is certain.

"When you think about the amount of money that needs to be raised, I think we're doing remarkably well," said Corrigan, pastor of both Corpus Christi and St. Theresa parishes.

An estimated $16 million is required to build the church, which will be situated at 3307-28A Ave. Now that the design concept phase has concluded, HFKS Architects can determine a more precise cost. Corrigan expects a truer number by the end of January.

The archdiocesan policy is that half of the money (about $8 million) is required in advance before construction can begin. Parish-wide fundraising began in 2011, and the building fund now totals in excess of $4.7 million.

"The challenge is that it takes a lot of pledges to go from $600,000 to $700,000. We will move ahead faithfully and trusting," said Corrigan.

"There have been some parishes that stepped up and said they want to help. There has been a positive response from some Knights of Columbus councils and CWL councils."

Current pledges from St. Theresa's parishioners total $2.75 million, and St. John the Evangelist Parish has donated $500,000. Other parishioners have been donating on a weekly basis for about 18 months, and continue doing so.

As part of the universality of the Church, Edmonton Catholic Schools and individual parishes throughout the archdiocese have been asked to make Corpus Christi one of their philanthropic projects.

Other initiatives, including advertisements in the WCR, are ongoing, which encourage people to support the project. As well, Corrigan has plans to preach at other parishes aside from his own, availing him the opportunity to give further details about the venture.

They also want to develop a corporate campaign throughout Millwoods, the Meadows, Ellerslie and Summerside.

"We have put some testimonial videos together from people who are already supporting the parish pledge campaign. Basically, two minutes of three or four people are put up on the screen at the end of Mass. They express why they choose to support the project, and encourage others to be involved," said Corrigan.


A lot of prayer has already gone into this project. Prayer, said Corrigan, is what changes people's hearts, and is yet another reason why he is confident this project will succeed.

Corrigan leads an outdoor Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on the last Friday of the month. About 40 people attended the Dec. 28 adoration. Held on a cold, wintry evening, it had an implicit message that such an event should be held within the warm confines of a church.

Land for the new church was purchased in 2001. Some Masses were held at Holy Family School until 2011. Since 2004, parishioners have been attending Mass at Father Michael Troy School (3630-23 St.).

"The majority of people don't want to go to Mass in a gymnasium. I know there are lots of people sitting in the pews here (at St. Theresa's) waiting. There are also many Catholics in the Meadows and Ellerslie areas who aren't in the pews, period, right now," said Corrigan.