Sacred Heart dedicates site for its new church
By Lee Ann Sides Garrett
For the Salisbury Post
A strong wind threatened to pull umbrellas from hands, while some people fanned themselves against the 90-degree sun bearing down in the open field.
More than 100 people gathered last Sunday to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Sacred Heart Catholic Church and school. Parishioners braved the heat and wind to dedicate the 107-acre site as part of its 125th anniversary celebration.
Parishioners sang hymns and listened intently while Bishop Peter Jugis of Charlotte blessed the site.
“The building we begin today,” said Jugis, “is to serve as the living temple and help us to grow in faith and spirit.”
The bishop blessed the site and a foundation stone, the first stone to be laid.
The crowd broke into applause and cheered as the bishop, pastor the Rev. John Putnam, parochial vicar the Rev. Jean-Pierre Swamunu Lhoposo, pastoral associate Sister Mary Robert and builder J.F. Schultz Construction employees pushed golden shovels into the ground and turned the first earth.
The land, at 2575 Jake Alexander Blvd., was purchased in 2000.
“The new sanctuary will face east,” says Mike Vaeth, building committee chairman, “because the sun rises in the east.”
The church is replacing all the buildings of the current parish. The sanctuary, at 128 N. Fulton St., and school, at 123 N. Ellis St., will be sold.
Sacred Heart Catholic School is the only parochial school within a 45-mile radius and educates students from kindergarten through the eighth grade. The school has about 220 students.
“The great thing about the new school,” says Vaeth, “is we will finally have a gymnasium for athletics.”
The school has to use or lease other facilities for its athletic teams.
Capital Committee Chairman Ray Paradowski says the project will cost $8.9 million excluding the land. The land is paid for.
Vaeth says the new church will give them lots of opportunity for growth. The church has a growing Hispanic population. The current sanctuary seats about 200 people. The planned church will seat 800.
“We have seven services now,” Vaeth says. “Hopefully we won’t have to do that once this is finished.”