St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church in Raleigh celebrated the grand opening of Ignatius Hall, its long awaited activity center, on August 20th. The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge led the rite of blessing of the new building.
In his remarks, Bishop Burbidge said, “This is a joyful night for you and for the entire Diocese.” He explained, “We are reminded that at the center of all our activities is the Eucharist. It is the gift that unites us as brothers and sisters, and we give thanks for all God has given us.”
Construction of the 15,000-square-foot activity center was phase one of the Breaking Ground campaign. The activity center will be used for liturgies, sporting events, receptions and banquets. The facility also has a large theater stage equipped with a sound system. Phase two will be a renovation of Raphael Hall, built in 1966. For years, the Hall served as the church facility.
Fr. Robert M. Hussey, S.J., Pastor of St Raphael, polled the staff, ministry leaders and parishioners to come up with a name for the new activity center. “We are a parish administered by the Fathers and Brothers of the Society of Jesus, and St. Ignatius is the Society’s founder,” said Mickey McGoldrick, Parish Administrator. “Raphael Hall was named for the patron saint of our parish, so it seemed fitting to name the new Activity Center for the patron saint of the Jesuits.”
“In naming the activity center Ignatius Hall, we are joining our past with our future,” said Fr. Hussey. “This is a great moment for our parish. It’s a center that we’ve been dreaming about for over 10 years, and it will be a great gathering space for our community life together.”
Approximately 800 parishioners were in attendance. Following the dedication, they enjoyed a buffet dinner prepared and served by the Knights of Columbus and the Martha Ministry. “What is incredibly exciting is seeing the whole community, parish, ECC and school come together at this pivotal time in the history of St. Raphael,” said Barry Thomas, Principal of St. Raphael School.
In attendance were Monsignor Gerald L. Lewis, the third pastor of St Raphael; former parochial vicar Fr. Robert Wiesenbaugh, S.J.; Fr. Michael Proterra, S.J.; Deacons Robert Madey, Jorge R. Rodriguez and Hector Velazco; and Superintendent of Schools, Mike Fedewa.
Above: Some of the 800 in attendance for dedication of Ignatius Hall Activity Center at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church in Raleigh.