Bishop David J. Walkowiak joined the St. John Paul II parish community to bless and dedicate their new church on Dec. 1, 2019, the first Sunday of Advent. The dedication took place during the 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass, the first Mass celebrated inside the new church building. More than 375 people joined Bishop Walkowiak and parish pastor Father Lam Le, including parishioners, clergy and other guests.
View Dedication Mass photos (Flickr)
“In the spirit of their patron St. John Paul II, the faithful of this parish have a vigorous missionary spirit and love which readily brings others to Christ,” said Bishop Walkowiak. “I am excited to join them in dedicating this new church which will allow them to continue this strong growth of the Catholic faith in West Michigan.”
“From humble beginnings, the parish has blossomed into a warm and welcoming community of believers! How grateful I am to the Lord and to those who have joined the parish over the last six years,” said Father Lam Le, pastor of St. John Paul II Parish. “The Dedication of a Church also provides an opportunity for current and future members of this parish to recommit themselves to the parish’s mission – to be the hands and feet of Christ.”
The new church is 9,360 square feet on the main floor with an additional 500 square feet on the lower level. Ground was broken on Aug. 19, 2018 for the new church. AMDG Architects was the architect and designer of the project while Erhardt Construction Co. was responsible for construction. The new church will seat 350 people with the ability to grow in the future.
The existing church will be designated as a chapel for weddings, funerals, and daily Mass. The facilities will continue to be utilized for parish faith formation and outreach programs.
St. John Paul II Parish is clustered with Mary Queen of Apostles in Sand Lake and is responsible for the mission church of St. Margaret in Harvard and its cemetery. The parish serves approximately 400 registered families and is expected to grow to more than 600 families in upcoming years.
Financial support for the construction of the new church was raised through the “Growing in God’s Merciful Love” campaign.
Renderings of the new church can be found here. The last church to be built in the Diocese of Grand Rapids was for St. Luke University Parish in Allendale (Georgetown Twp.) which opened in the spring of 2017.
History of St. John Paul II Parish:
January 24, 2013:
• The Diocese of Grand Rapids purchases the land and building at 3110 17 Mile Road in Cedar Springs. The building served as the former home of Pioneer Christian Reformed Church.
• Adjacent land at 13911 Northern Springs Drive is also purchased with the intent of building a new and larger church when the parish outgrows the property on 17 Mile Road.
April 12, 2013:
• Bishop Walter A. Hurley, the 11th bishop of Grand Rapids, issues a decree which canonically and civilly establishes Blessed John Paul II Parish.
April 17, 2013:
• Father Lam Le is appointed as pastor of Blessed John Paul II Parish by Bishop Hurley.
July 6, 2013:
• The first Sunday Mass is celebrated.
• The Vatican announces a second miracle which is attributed to the intercession of Blessed John Paul II which puts him on the path to sainthood.
September 22, 2013:
• The church and altar of Blessed John Paul II Parish are blessed by Bishop David Walkowiak.
March 11, 2014:
• In light of Pope John Paul II’s impending canonization, Bishop Walkowiak issues a decree to change the parish name to St. John Paul II Parish.
April 27, 2014:
• Pope Francis canonizes Pope John Paul II.
June 12, 2015:
• Planning for the new church begins.
March 27, 2016:
• Planning concludes with a successful feasibility study announcement on Easter.
August 9, 2016:
• “Growing in God’s Merciful Love” stewardship campaign begins.
August 19, 2018:
• Ground is broken for the new church
December 1, 2018:
• Bishop Walkowiak dedicates new church
Annalise Laumeyer, director of communications
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