Mass celebrates Fargo Diocese's largest facility
FARGO Founding pastor Monsignor Val Gross told hundreds of parishioners at Sts. Anne and Joachim Catholic Church in Fargo that it "began as a church without a name." The congregation has long since had a name, and, after Thursday evening's dedica...
Founding pastor Monsignor Val Gross told hundreds of parishioners at Sts. Anne and Joachim Catholic Church in Fargo that it "began as a church without a name."
The congregation has long since had a name, and, after Thursday evening's dedication Mass, it has a permanent church, too.
The Rev. Paul Duchschere, current Sts. Anne and Joachim pastor, said the new facility is the largest Catholic church in the Fargo Diocese in terms of square footage and capacity. The nave, or congregational area, of the new structure seats between 1,100 and 1,200 people.
The new worship area recalls traditional Catholic structures. The center of the ceiling rises to a height of 47 feet. The roof peaks at 70 feet. And the steeple is 121 feet "to the top of the cross," said Larry Carcoana, project architect for Fargo-based Zerr Berg Architects.
It's an effect not lost on Linda Beare, who has been a member at the church since it began in 1995.
"It looks like a cathedral," she said.
Arched windows and stained glass adorn the church. Marble graces the center aisle, the platform area, the inner walls and the pulpit.
Carcoana noted the blood-red color of stone on the pulpit and altar, saying it symbolizes the "sacrifice" of Christ.
Brian Berg, another project architect with Zerr Berg Architects, said there is "so much symbolism interwoven into the church."
In addition to the primary worship area, the structure houses adoration and daily chapels as well as numerous shrines and confessionals.
The new structure is actually the bulk of the second phase of a two-phase project. Duchschere put the cost of this second round of work at about $9 million to $10 million. Phase two included the construction of 25,800 square feet of new space. The parish broke ground on the new church building in April 2008.
Phase one was completed in 2001 and included office space, a gathering space and a social hall, which is where the congregation has been meeting while waiting for the permanent worship area to be constructed.
"It's beautiful," Duchschere said.
He talked about how pleased he was with the manner in which the project come to fruition.
It was done "by the parishioners," he said "It wasn't like we took a grant from Rome for $5 million. You know, it was all done by the giving of the people in the parish."
The church is comprised of about 1,300 family units.
Shirley Summerville, one of the first two trustees of the parish, said the new church is "everything that our people wanted" and that seeing the structure is "just overwhelming."
Beare said the new space is "more prayerful and seems more sacred.
"We had a nice temporary worship space ... but to have a real church means everything," she said.
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.