St. Theresa congregation ready to build parish center in Perry
by Clarke Davis
The congregation at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Perry conducted a groundbreaking ceremony Sunday on a long held dream.
Following Mass, the Knights of Columbus, in full regalia, led Archbishop Joseph Naumann, the Rev. Tom Aduri, and the congregation to the property where they will build a parish center.
Construction will begin soon on the center that will house a large banquet room, six classrooms for religious instruction, a kitchen, and offices.
The center will be built on church-owned land catty-corner from the church next to the parking lot.
The parish center has been on the church’s long-term list of goals for over 15 years, said Pastor Tom Aduri.
The priest said the congregation had been saving money for a number of years but the project they had planned was beyond its means.
Aduri, who has been the church priest for three years, said he helped them scale back the project and design something that was realistic.
The center will measure 88 feet by 82 feet and cost about $520,000. The church had saved up more than half that amount. The Graber Construction Co., Oskaloosa, is the contrator.
Aduri said the need is great. The church has at least 70 children who are now using the classrooms in the Highland Community College center on Sundays. Before moving to the HCC center, the parsonage next to the church was not being used and the children held classes there, but it was ruled unsafe, especially the basement where there were insufficient fire escapes.
The new center will also provide the church with a place to hold wedding receptions, baptismal parties, and dinners and gatherings of all kinds.
St. Theresa’s consists of about 135 families. It was founded in 1880. Aduri also serves St. Aloysius Catholic Church at Meriden.
The archbishop led the congregation in prayer, blessed the land, and spoke about the importance of the center that will serve the many generations henceforth.
The groundbreaking ceremony took place at noon followed by a luncheon.
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