Dream takes shape
Ten year mission to expand becomes reality
September 05, 2007DRYDEN — The decade-long dream to build a new church has come true for members of St. Cornelius Catholic Church.
The parish received word on Aug. 9 that the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit had granted approval for the building project.
Four days later, workers from the Dailey Company of Lake Orion began moving earth at the Mill Street site, adjacent to the existing church.
Dailey representatives predict that the project will be completed by mid-summer of 2008, barring any unforeseen problems.
Church member John Cadwell, who has been asked to oversee the project by St. Cornelius pastor Fr. Wayne Ureel, said news that construction had been approved spread quickly among church members.
"It was a happy day for all of us," said Cadwell, a retiree who is making daily visits to the construction site. "This was 10 years in the making." Cadwell said the $1.9 million project will be completed solely through contributions and pledges from parishioners, and without having to secure a loan.
"The archdiocese doesn't do that anymore," he said. "It's all paid for from pledges from the parish."
|Representatives from the Dailey Company view the grounds of St. Cornelius Catholic Church, where construction has begun on a new $1.9 million facility that was ten years in the making. photo by Tom Wearing.|
Once completed, the 22,000-square-foot structure will double the seating of the current building—from 250 seats to 500 seats. The capacity of the church's social hall (Dunn Hall) will also be expanded.
"We'll be able to accommodate larger crowds than we can right now," said Cadwell, adding that the extra space will be helpful during annual events like the church's fall bazaar, wild game dinner and twice-yearly rummage sales.
Cadwell said the church grounds will be in some degree of disarray throughout the construction process, creating an inconvenience for parishioners and visitors.
"So far, everyone has responded positively and has adjusted well to the construction process," Cadwell said. "The people have been very patient with this project. It's going to be a nice-looking church when it's done."
St. Cornelius was founded in 1957 as a mission church, with parishioners meeting upstairs at the Dryden Public Library. The church was dedicated as a regular parish in September 1995 at its present location.
Having grown in recent years to a parish of more than 700 families, a building committee was established in 2001 to begin making plans for a new, larger church.
"Our building and finance committees have done a great job to get us to this point," Cadwell said. "They've all worked hard and put in a lot of effort. They've had to deal with a lot of changes along the way."
One of those changes required rethinking earlier plans to build a new church and school on Dryden Road, on the west edge of the village.
"We had been looking at building on that land, which is owned by the archdiocese," said Cadwell. "After a few years we kept struggling to get the money. The people of the parish finally decided we should go this route."
St. Cornelius is pastored by Fr. Wayne Ureel, who shares his time with parishes at St. John the Evangelist in Allenton and St. Nicholas in Capac. He is assisted at the clustered parishes by Associate Pastor Fr. Alberto Sescon.
For more information about St. Cornelius Catholic Church, call 810-796-2926.