AUSTIN -- After three years of planning, fundraising and construction, Catholics in northwest Austin have a new place to worship.
The Austin Diocese held a dedication for the new Saint Vincent de Paul Catholic Church Saturday morning. A joyful procession from the old into the new.
As parishioners crossed the threshold into the new building, many were in awe. The smiles on their faces come from more than just the beauty of this place of worship with its fixtures made of limestone from Jerusalem and stained glass windows.
This is a vision come to life.
"Well the journey began in 1995 when I was asked to begin this parish community in northwest Austin. And we began to meet at Deer Park Middle School on Anderson Mill Road," said Reverend Danny Garcia.
The congregation of 230 families grew into 550. In 2001 the parish built a multi purpose building. But now the congregation has nearly tripled in size to 1400 families.
"Anytime you start a parish church, people want a church. And, but people are always 'well how are we going to build it?' and I said well, it's gotta be your gift. No one gives us money to start to build, it's got to be people's sacrifice," said Garcia.
Parishioners pledged to give more than $5 million to pay for their new church. It took 16 months to build.
The new sanctuary holds more than 1200 people, but it's designed to maintain the intimacy that the congregation has come to expect in their church. In the new sanctuary, no seat is more than 75 feet away from the altar. An altar that was blessed by the Bishop of the Austin Diocese, Reverend Joe Vasquez in a ceremony Saturday morning.
Austin area priests sprinkled holy water, anointed the alter and walls with oil, and sealed relics of the church's patron saint beneath the alter.
With the lighting of the alter and church the light of Saint Vincent de Paul will shine brighter in the Austin community.