GRANGER, Ind. --- St. Pius X Parish is spilling beyond the wooden beams of the Granger church. On Sunday, parishioners, priests, and Bishop Kevin Rhoades braved the drizzle to break ground on and bless the cornerstone for the new Romanesque-style church.
"I feel overwhelming joy," said Msgr. William Schooler. "It's impossible for me to realize this day has come. We've worked so hard for it."
The 3,100-family parish began a $20 million fundraising blitz about 2.5 years ago. Construction for the church is part of long-term plan to expand the parish grounds, which includes adding a preschool wing, more classroom space, and a multi-purpose gathering area. By the time crews complete the project, St. Pius will have the area's largest Catholic church.
"When I came to St. Pius in 2001, we knew, at that time, the facilities were too small," Schooler said.
Jed Eide with Alliance Architects helped design the school and says it's an honor to be asked to draw the blueprints for the church.
"We did a lot of looking at St. Monica's," Eide said of the Mishawaka parish.
He adds the cruciform interior will make the new facility similar to the Basilica of Sacred Heart.
The church will seat more than 1,300 people -- doubling the current capacity. It will be built near the corner of Fir Road and S.R. 23. Schooler says the goal is to open its doors around Christmastime in 2016. The parish plans to renovate the current church into a baptistry, meeting rooms, a library, and gathering space.