On Saturday, October 22, 2011, St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Wake Forest broke ground for its new church. The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge blessed the ground and presided at the groundbreaking, followed by a Mass of Thanksgiving at the outdoor chapel on the parish grounds. Concelebrating with Bishop Burbidge were Fr. Philip Tighe, Pastor of St. Catherine, and Fr. Brendan Buckler, St. Catherine’s Parochial Vicar. The Bishop delivered the homily.
The number of parishioners at St. Catherine, the second oldest Catholic Church in Wake County, has grown from about 500 in 1990 to more than 10,600 -- more than 3,000 families. The new building, expected to be completed in eight months, will seat 1,450, with room for another 400 in overflow areas. The growth of St. Catherine reflects the influx of Catholics to the Triangle from other parts of the country, as well as Latin America, Africa and Asia. Since 1990, the number of Catholics in Wake County has quadrupled to more than 100,000.
“Any architect would tell us,” the Bishop said in his homily, “that no matter how splendid a building is, it must be able to depend and rely on that which holds it up: the foundation. Only then will the building be able to withstand the weight of the construction as well as the obstacles nature will send.
“The same is true in our lives. We must depend completely and totally on the Foundation of our lives: Jesus Christ. That understanding was reflected tonight as we echoed the words of the psalmist: “You, O Lord, are my strength, my rock, my fortress and my deliverer!” Only with Christ holding us up can we endure in the midst of the storms of our lives. He alone gives us the amazing grace and divine assistance we need.”
In a letter to parishioners, Fr. Tighe noted that “one of the unique aspects of our [fundraising] campaign has been the blessing of our brothers and sisters from other faiths who have...contributed $2.1 million or 22 per cent of our campaign.... And the heroic stories of families are numerous. We have had donors who have lost homes to natural disasters, families who have lost work, individuals who have reached deep down to make personal sacrifices, and even children who have set aside their savings. In addition, we have had countless prayer warriors who have spent hours in prayer and adoration for the success of our project.”
Following the Mass, the Bishop carried the Blessed Sacrament in procession to the adoration chapel in the current church building.
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Above: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge blessing the ground, prior to the groundbreaking of the site of the new St. Catherine of Siena Church.
Below: Bishop Burbidge celebrating a Mass of Thanksgiving following the groundbreaking at the outdoor chapel on the parish grounds.