By Becky May
After more than 25 years of planning and waiting, construction has started for the Santa Rosa Parish Hall in San Fernando, CA. The road to build a new place for retreats, prayer services and parish activities was a bumpy one, but the conditions of the former hall had to be updated. New gas pipes, plumbing and electrical lines, plus a new roof, were just a few of the many repairs that needed to be made. The original hall was built in 1949.
The Santa Rosa Parish holds an average nine masses on Sunday. Fr. Juan Gaspar, OMI, Associate Pastor at Santa Rosa, explains why a new hall was so essential, “We need a gathering space outside of the worship area. […] The community has been very generous to fix the hall.” Despite lack of funds, the parishoners did their best to contribute through fundraisers and pledge drives. The community came up with enough money to make a down payment for not just rennovations, but for a competely new hall to be built.
The Santa Rosa Parish Pastor, Fr. Stan Zowada, OMI agrees that the new Parish Hall was worth the fight, “It is the heart of the parish, a place where God’s people gather and God does His work.”
The groundbreaking took place on Dec. 20, 2013.
Fr. Gaspar, posted pictures of bulldozers leveling the ground where the former hall once stood. “There are a lot of mixed emotions because it [construction] has taken this long,” said Fr. Gaspar.
On Sunday the Auxiliary Bishop of the San Fernando Pastoral Region, Bishop Gerald Eugene Wilkerson, blessed the parish grounds. The new hall is to be named for and dedicated to Blessed John Paul II.
Despite the setbacks, Fr. Juan says the Oblate community effort is what made the construction possible. Fr. Stan said, “We are grateful to the local Oblates from the San Fernando Area who has supported this project through advice and encouragements.” The Santa Rosa Parish website has a prayer designated specifically for the new parish hall. (Click here for link).
The one-story parish hall is expected to be completed by Fall of 2014.