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A house of worship 20 years in the making is coming closer to fruition, as construction of a main church, daily chapel and sacristies at St. Olaf Catholic Church is set to begin in the spring.
The Rev. Tom Mattingly, pastor at St. Olaf, said in 1995 a worship and fellowship hall opened for the parish, which was established in 1989 as the Norge mission of St. Bede Catholic Church.
But the hall would not be big enough to contain the growing congregation – membership has soared from 40 families during the first 1989 mass to 880 families today, Mattingly said.
The church’s footprint expanded five years ago when a commons was completed, Mattingly said. The commons, which currently hosts classes and meetings, will eventually connect the fellowship hall to the main church, he said.
The third and final piece of the project will be the main church, which is designed to seat more than 900 people and feature artwork and Stations of the Cross. There will also be a 49-seat daily mass chapel, a reconciliation room for small meetings and prayer groups, a choir room, vesting and work sacristies and renovated commons.
The total cost for the building is about $4 million and liturgical furnishings like the altar and pews are estimated to cost $400,000, according to the St. Olaf website.
There have been some changes to the church’s design since a special use permit was granted for the project in 2008 – James City County Planner Jose Ribeiro said a shift from a modern façade to a traditional façade will require an amendment to the project’s proposed architectural elevations.
The amendment will go before the Planning Commission in January and then the Board of Supervisors in February, Ribeiro said. Construction can begin with the Board of Supervisors’ approval of the amendment.
Mattingly said it has taken time to raise funds from the congregation to finance the new church, but the goal is to open the church in time for the 25th anniversary of the parish’s naming in 2017.
“We would like to have it at least by then,” Mattingly said. “That year will be significant.”