The journey of joining two buildings in service of one parish.
Holy Spirit Parish in Stevens Point dedicated their new Ministry Center on March 8, 2020. This joyous occasion began with Mass celebrated by Bishop William Patrick Callahan, joined by concelebrants Father Steve Brice, present pastor, and former pastors Father Tom Lindner and Father Donald Przybylski. The Ministry Center is the culmination of many years of planning and represents the first phase of a building campaign consisting of the sale of the Newman University Center, necessary maintenance and a major addition to the St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.
In 2012, Father George Thayilkuzhithotti, MSFS, created a committee, chaired by John Krupka, to explore the idea of building a parish center addition to the St. Stanislaus Kostka Church to meet the needs of funeral visitations and social events. However, this effort was put on hold when Father George was transferred to Eau Claire to become pastor of Sacred Heart-St. Patrick Parish. Nonetheless, ideas generated from this first effort were eventually incorporated into the new building initiative.
The decision to build the Ministry Center was not without its challenges and opportunities. The parish adopted a theme of “Building Upon a Firm Foundation” to reflect the rich joint histories of St. Stanislaus Kostka and the Newman University parishes.
Each time a need for a major building project surfaced, the giving spirit was displayed not only by individuals but also organizations. Parish organizations, like the women’s Rosary Society, now called the Parish Council of Catholic Women (PCCW), and the men’s Holy Name Society, have a legacy of supporting the many parish building projects and the people within them. PCCW member Barbara Reed said, “The Rosary Society, through their annual bake sale and other fundraisers, provided financial support to purchase altar linens, cassocks and surplices for servers and, most recently, an ice maker for the kitchen in the new Ministry Center.” Holy Name Society member Fred Jaworski related, “The men’s group sponsors the Boy Scout Troop 298, which provides funds to purchase raffle items for the annual parish picnic. These men of the parish, who are skilled electricians, welders, carpenters and cement layers, over the years provided labor for improvements or repairs to the buildings at little or no cost.”
Jack Bierman (now deceased) and Jack Bennett were instrumental in getting the building project off the ground. Bennett said, “We did not enter this campaign with an instant $4 million to $5 million-dollar donor. We had to cultivate and gain the trust, dedication, service, generosity and will to succeed from many selfless parishioners … people willing to give of their time, talent and treasure. That, along with the memorable and warm home visits, is what I will remember most fondly.”
Although Father Tom Lindner was transferred before the building campaign could be completed, Father Steve Brice captured the enthusiasm of the many parishioners who would see this project to its completion. As a result, the Ministry Center became a reality, with work being completed by Ash Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020.
The Ministry Center serves as a gathering space for parish activities, including funerals, weddings and faith formation. It is available for fellowship and events hosted by various parish organizations like the Arimatheans (funeral and grief support), Holy Family Ministries, the Holy Name Society, PCCW, Cub and Scout Troop 298 and the Thrive Mom’s Group. Moreover, the Ministry Center is home to Point Catholic, the campus ministry of Holy Spirit Parish in service to both UW-Stevens Point and Mid State Technical College students. Point Catholic’s mission is to “… take great pride in treating each student as a unique child of God and helping to form them to become disciples ready for the challenges of the 21st century.”
The Holy Spirit Parish community is pleased with the new Ministry Center. John Krupka, a member of the Building Committee, said, “We have yet to realize the full potential of what this building will offer to our parish life.” Point Catholic Campus Minister Jessica Enstad remarked, “Holy Spirit Parish is extremely supportive of campus ministry. Their generosity through student supper donations and preparations, as well as engaging with students, help them feel welcome and at home. Point Catholic provides a community for students to enrich their Faith. Activities such as weekly Bible studies for men and women, retreats, social gatherings and service opportunities are offered for the students.”
The Tree of Life is the centerpiece of the Ministry Center. Julie Meadows, director of faith formation, said, “The Tree of Life, a stained-glass art piece transferred from the Newman University Parish, conveys how the laity is rooted, grows and blossoms in the ever-changing seasons.” It is positioned to overlook the gathering space, centered behind the altar, and will overlook the casket for funeral visitations.
In his dedication remarks, Bishop Callahan said, “This new Ministry Center will provide the Holy Spirit Parish family a beautiful place for its many ministries born of your love of Christ nurtured by the Eucharist. It will provide a home away from home for university and technical school students, supporting them on their journey into adulthood. This center will be a resource at the service of the whole Stevens Point community.”
Top picture: With the Tree of Life window in the background, Bishop Callahan blesses the Ministry Center.
Story by Pat Trebatoski and Robert Rogers
Photography by Robert Rogers
Published in the July/August 2020 Catholic Life Issue