ARCHBISHOP GOMEZ BREAKS GROUND ON CONSTRUCTION OF ST. JOHN VIANNEY CHURCH DESTROYED IN 2011 ARSON
Archbishop José H. Gomez, along with Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell of the San Gabriel Pastoral Region and Msgr. Timothy Nichols, parish pastor, blessed the ground of the new St. John Vianney Parish in Hacienda Heights on Saturday, June 18.
“This is the day the people of our parish have been waiting and hoping for – the start of the new church,” said Msgr. Nichols, the parish’s pastor for the past 14 years. “Despite many obstacles, we have reached this day and look forward to the dedication of the new church at the end of 2017.”
Construction of the new building will start immediately, to replace the old California mission-style church, which was destroyed – along with the next door rectory’s roof – by a fire set by an arsonist in the early morning hours of April 16, 2011. The old house of worship was dedicated by Cardinal James Francis McIntyre in 1969. Since then, thousands of families and individuals have been baptized, received their First Communion, been confirmed, joined in marriage and held funerals for relatives and friends. Even one priesthood ordination Mass took place in the original church prior to construction of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, where ordinations are now held.
Since 2011, Masses at St. John Vianney, which has an estimated 5,300 registered families, have been held at a temporary weather-proof structure that seats 750, and is expected to last for three to four years until a new permanent church is built. The new church will be built north of the original church that was burned down. Its Ceremonial Doors and baptismal font will be within the footprint of the original church. The main outline of the original church will be a Gathering Space for entrance into the new church, which is expected to have a full capacity of 1,100.
During Saturday’s service, Archbishop Gomez blessed the outline of the new church with holy water, Msgr. Nichols led the ground breaking together with the Archbishop and Bishop O’Connell, followed by 50 representatives of the church’s ministries turning the earth with shovels.
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SJV1: From right, Archbishop José H. Gomez, Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell of San Gabriel Pastoral Region, and Msgr. Timothy Nichols, pastor of St. John Vianney Church, break ground, on June 18, of the new church that will be built next to the ground where the original church in Hacienda Heights was destroyed in an arson in 2011. The new church is expected to be ready in the fall of 2017, with a full capacity of 1,100.
SJV2: Archbishop José H. Gomez (far right) blesses more than 50 representatives of the same amount of ministries, who turned the earth with their shovels during the groundbreaking ceremony of St. John Vianney Parish in Hacienda Heights on June 18. The original church was destroyed in an arson in April 2011. The new church is expected to be dedicated in the fall of 2017, with a full capacity of 1,100.
SJV3: Archbishop José H. Gomez (second right) blesses the grounds of the new St. John Vianney Parish in Hacienda Heights during the liturgical service and groundbreaking ceremony of the new St. John Vianney Parish in Hacienda Heights on June 18. The original church was destroyed in an arson in April 2011. Concelebrating were Deacon Richard Noon (far right), Bishop David O’Connell of San Gabriel Pastoral Region (right of Archbishop Gomez), Msgr. Timothy Nichols, pastor of St. John Vianney, and Associate Pastors, Fathers Patrick Nwokeogu, and R. Carlos Nava, O.M.I.
Photo Credit: Grace Rennie
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