It was a special day in Vestal on Saturday as the Bishop of the Syracuse Diocese joined a local pastor for the start of a project that has taken 12 years to plan. As our Elyse Mickalonis tells us, the town will soon have a new church. The Bishop says this is all happening during a time when many churches are consolidating, instead of expanding.
VESTAL, N.Y. -- Saturday’s rain let up just in time for a special groundbreaking in Vestal.
“Today’s a wonderful day not only for the people of Our Lady of Sorrows, but for people in the whole diocese,” said Bishop Robert Cunningham, Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese.
Our Lady of Sorrows Pastor John Kurgan and Bishop Robert Cunningham met with other dignitaries for the official groundbreaking for a new church at 801 Main Street in Vestal. Final approval for the project was announced in May.
“It’s been about 12 years the parish has been working on this. To be able to develop a church site here that will be about twice the size of the church we have. We’re a growing parish with a lot of young families, it’s a great time especially when you see other churches consolidating,” said Father John Kurgan, Our Lady of Sorrows Pastor.
Bishop Cunningham added, “A lot of joy here and a lot of happiness, it’s palpable. It’s been a long time coming.”
The project includes a new church able to hold 600 people, overflow seating for 150 and more.
“That school is going to be turned into a parish. We’ll have a religious education center, then the new church, the rectory and offices, couple of playing fields the community can utilize also, we want to be very community-orientated,” said Father Kurgan.
Town officials say they’re glad to see the church stay in the community.
“I’m happy for the church community and Vestal. They opted to stay there and build a new building that will stay in Vestal for years,” said John Schaffer, Town of Vestal Supervisor.
Father Kurgan added, “We’re happy to be in Vestal, it’s a great place. We’ve got a large parish, about 1,500 families and many young people. And our young people are our future. And that’s why we’re doing this.”
Once the new church is up and running, Father Kurgan says the current church located at 157 Clark Street will close and be sold. He says the plan is to hold opening Mass at the new church with Bishop Cunningham in December of next year.