By KK Calame
Exciting news in this week from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Devine announcing a ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the long awaited replica Chapel of the historic 98 year old church building and steeple that was torn down August 1, 2020 due to safety concerns.
“After years of preparations, we are happy to announce the construction of our new chapel is set to begin. Join us for a ground breaking ceremony on Thursday, May 4, 2023 at 10a.m.
Bishop Gary Janak will be here from the Archdiocese to give a blessing”, said Matthew Balderama, Building Committee Chairman, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Devine.
The new Chapel and plaza will be built where the old church once stood. It will be done in two phases, back to back. Phase one will be the construction of the chapel and Phase two will be the construction of the plaza behind the chapel.
The chapel was designed to try to replicate the old one as close as possible, but will be about one third the size of the original one. The design process began with parishioner Candace DeJesus and old photos sent in by parishioners were used as references so it can be replicated inside and out as much as possible..
Architect/planner/consultants is Morkovsky and Associates, Inc of San Antonio, Texas.
“The chapel will be approximately 32 ft wide by 59 feet long with ceiling at 22 feet. The base of the cross at 30’6’’ high and the tip of the steeple close to 37 feet, roughly about a third of the size of the old church. It will have 8 foot pews on each side inside and accommodate up to 100 people,”said Balderamma.
Mass will still be celebrated on the weekends in the current church as they have much larger attendance. Daily Mass will be in the new chapel when it is complete. Also smaller celebrations will take place in the chapel as well, like baptisms, some weddings, etc.
The new project is estimated to take 6 months to complete. Cost estimated to not exceed $900,000. “Currently we have 58% of the money needed, as required by the Archdiocese. Funds have been raised over the 12 years since it was condemned by private donation and events like the annual Octoberfest”, he said. “We will continue to take donations, and will take sponsorships for things like the pews, stained glass windows, statues, saints, and cross. And a decision is yet to be made as to whether the old bell will be used or a new one purchased. A nice sound system and electronic bell system will be in the chapel and sound off like it used to years ago every hour of the day and at mass times. The community will enjoy hearing those again across all over town, “ he said.
The Building Committee of St. Jospeh’s consists of : Don Dunford, Santiago Mendoza, Michael Perez, Laura Holder, Juan Billalobos, Jr., Candace DeJesus, Chairman Matthew Balderama, and Father Antonio Hernandez. Advisors are Ernie Morales, Lydia Benavidez, Todd Summers, and Melissa Rodriguez.