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updated: 2/24/2011 4:43 PM

Sugar Grove parish getting closer to own building

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Meeting by meeting, dollar by dollar, St. Katharine of Drexel parish is getting closer to having a home of its own.

The Sugar Grove parish, established in August 2008, expects to go out to bid by the end of October on construction of a sanctuary and, possibly, an education and office building, according to its pastor, the Rev. Bob Jones.

The parish's building committee is meeting Friday to receive and review final construction plans from its architect. The parish intends to build on 20 acres at Dugan and Prairie roads. The land and securities, total value about $5 million, were donated by Jerry and Anthony Rich.

A fundraising campaign among parishioners netted pledges of $1.35 million, Jones said.

He expects a sanctuary could cost $5 million, and the education building another $2 million.

After the parish finds out exactly what it will cost, it will then seek permission from the building commission of the Rockford Diocese, to which it belongs. Diocesan rules state that potential building projects should have 100 percent of their money in hand or pledged before construction, but exceptions are made depending on a parish's plan and if the parish can show it has enough income to operate the new building for several years, Jones said.

"We would like to do the whole thing," all at once, Jones said, but if the parish can't afford to, it would postpone the education wing.

The parish has been meeting for weekend Masses, and some religious education, in the multipurpose room at John Shields Elementary School in Sugar Grove. Daily Masses are held in a small chapel at the church's office in a business park.

About 600 people are attending Mass each weekend.

What would a building of its own mean to the parish?

"For one thing, we would not have to set up folding chairs and roll out the altar, and canvasses painted like stained-glass windows" every weekend, Jones said. "That would be a real big thing."

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