Amid cheers from the faithful, leaders broke ground Aug. 28 for a new church building for St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Raleigh.
Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Father Robert Staley, Deacon Mike Sanchez, architect James O’Brien, project manager Amy Luciani and members of the team shoveled dirt at the site to mark the beginning of construction.
Father Staley invited children to come forward and participate in the ceremonial groundbreaking with hard hats and shovels, too. “We want to make sure they understand that they are a part of this journey,” he said.
The event, which included blessings, prayers and intercessions, was held following a special Mass.
“As we seek to raise up this house of God, we know from the psalm: ‘Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain to build,’” Bishop Burbidge prayed. “Therefore, at the beginning of our labor we ask God to go before us, to bless this construction, to protect those who work on it and bring it to successful completion.”
The site is located on Bayleaf Church Road in North Raleigh. The 22-acre property, which sits close to Falls Lake, was purchased in 1981 by Father Gerald Lewis. He saw the St. Raphael the Archangel parish growing and realized there would one day be a need for another church in the area.
The parish was officially established in 1985. Early Masses were held nearby at the Raleigh Fireman’s Club and, later, in a multi-purpose building constructed to accommodate Mass and other gatherings. In January 2014 the building sustained damage during an early-morning fire.
“[The groundbreaking] was a tangible, official marker of the community moving forward in a wonderful way after the tragic fire,” Father Staley said. “Through the experience of coming together … the people of St. Luke Parish experienced overflowing blessings from God.”
photos by Kristine Sasak