December 17, 2021

Archbishop dedicates new space at Mary, Queen of Peace Parish

Father Michael Fritsch, left, pastor of Mary, Queen of Peace Parish in Danville, assists Archbishop Charles C. Thompson as the archbishop recites a prayer on Nov. 21 before blessing a newly constructed narthex, parish office and religious education wing at the parish. (Submitted photo courtesy of Betty Bartley, The Republican Newspaper)

Father Michael Fritsch, left, pastor of Mary, Queen of Peace Parish in Danville, assists Archbishop Charles C. Thompson as the archbishop recites a prayer on Nov. 21 before blessing a newly constructed narthex, parish office and religious education wing at the parish. (Submitted photo courtesy of Betty Bartley, The Republican Newspaper)

By Peg McRoy Glover (Special to The Criterion)

DANVILLE—Archbishop Charles C. Thompson blessed a newly constructed narthex, parish office and religious education wing at Mary, Queen of Peace Parish in Danville on Nov. 21.

The dedication and blessing ceremony took place after the archbishop celebrated Mass in the parish’s church.

“It is indeed a pleasure to welcome Archbishop Thompson to our parish for the offering of the holy Mass and solemn blessing of our newly-built facilities,” said Father Michael Fritsch, the parish’s pastor.

About 300 parishioners gathered around Archbishop Thompson and Father Fritsch as they stood in the new narthex before a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for the ceremony.

“May the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, may the word of Christ dwell in you, and that all you do in work and in word you will do in the name of the Lord. May Almighty God bless and keep you all,” the archbishop prayed at the beginning of the ceremony. He then visited each classroom and office, blessing the spaces with holy water.

The dedication and blessing were the culmination of a process that began in 2015. The parish council took part in a “visioning day,” where they envisioned what Mary, Queen of Peace could look like in the future to enhance parish life. After much discernment, they developed plans to build a new parish office, religious education classrooms and a fellowship hall.

To bring these plans to fruition, a building committee was formed. Town hall meetings were conducted so parishioners could learn of the plans and voice their opinions. A three-year capital campaign was started in hopes of raising the $3 million needed to begin construction.

Although the capital campaign fell short of its goal, enough was raised to begin construction on much-needed offices and classrooms. The religious education building that was built in 1954 leaked and was unsafe, and the parish offices were located in the rectory.

The religious education building was razed to make way for the new structure. In its place is a beautiful education wing with 11 classrooms and parish offices that are attached to the church with an expanded narthex.

“The newly constructed religious education wing, parish offices and connecting narthex to our existing church are a sign of the vitality and continued growth of our parish within the larger community of Danville,” said Father Fritsch. “These are tangible results of people’s stewardship of their time, talent and treasure.”

The parish council is already looking forward and eyeing two more construction projects that will fulfill the initial vision.

The rectory needs to be renovated where the previous offices were located. Plans are also in the works to repurpose that space into guest rooms to accommodate visiting clergy.

And the fellowship hall will provide an excellent gathering space for parishioners and the community.
 

(Peg McRoy Glover is a member of Mary, Queen of Peace Parish in Danville.)

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