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Lewis Breaks Ground for the Long Awaited Renovations and Addition for Church of the Resurrection Ellicott City

Parishioners of Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City had much to celebrate when Archbishop William E. Lori joined the Howard County faith community for a special Mass June 4.

Following the liturgy, Archbishop Lori symbolically broke ground on a major renovation of the church. He also blessed the parish’s recently completed rosary garden and its St. Vincent de Paul Center that provides outreach services to those in need in the community.

In his homily, Archbishop Lori said the parish’s construction projects are “not only signs of growth and vitality but also of unity of purpose on the part of this entire parish family.”

Addressing a crowd of several hundred gathered for the groundbreaking, Monsignor John Dietzenbach, Resurrection’s pastor, said the parish community stands at a crossroads.

“Tonight we bless two projects that have been completed,” he said, “and we work on the foundation that I think is the third and biggest part of this project.”

The extensive reconstruction of the existing church building will include a new sanctuary, restrooms, altar, organ, audio-visual system and tiled floor.

The west façade of the renovated church will incorporate nine stained-glass windows that had previously been part of St. Brigid in Baltimore, which closed in 2019. Statuary from another parish will also be incorporated in the renovated church. In addition, a new coffee bar and gathering space for church and school functions will be introduced.

Father Dietzenbach expressed his hope that the capital projects would bring the current parishioners closer together and that the new physical infrastructure would act as a catalyst for future members of the church to “regenerate themselves in Christ’s light.”

Church leaders project that the multiyear, multimillion-dollar church renovation will be completed by Christmas 2023.

According to Monsignor Dietzenbach and others, making the multiple projects become a reality hasn’t been an easy journey so far. The pastor noted that the church was long overdue for improvements. The current church was never intended to be a permanent worship space. It was erected approximately 50 years ago along with the adjoining school and was originally intended to be a gymnasium.

“It was showing its age,” Monsignor Dietzenbach said, “but it never really was a beautiful space because it wasn’t designed to be a church.”

Building was delayed for years because of the pandemic. With supply shortages and the current climate of inflation there have been many concerns for the project, as well as permitting challenges.

“It was very stressful,” Monsignor Dietzenbach noted. “I wanted the project finished, and plus it’s more expensive (to build as time progresses.)”

Alice Appleby, Resurrection’s secretary for the last 35 years, said at the groundbreaking that although she has grown accustomed to Mass in the old facility, she is looking forward to the new building.

“I think it’s good,” she said. “We’ve always wanted a church. It will be nice to have more of a church feel than the hall… and the St. Vincent De Paul Center is beautiful.”

The new St. Vincent De Paul Center and a nearby rosary garden opened to the public officially right after the groundbreaking. The gathered crowd, including the archbishop, trekked to the center for an opening blessing.

The new center includes a lobby, office, two rooms to conduct private interviews with those in need, restrooms and a pantry.

“It’s a very exciting thing,” said Peggy Nieberding, head of the parish St. Vincent De Paul Society. “(We’re) going from a little conference room to a bigger place, and it will be especially good for those in need.”

The rosary garden features a sacred circular space with a large statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus. It is encircled by a landscaped path bordered by benches.

Arnold and Isabella Aquilano have been parishioners at Resurrection for 34 years. They said they were very excited to attend the groundbreaking.

“It was a great thing, really,” Isabella said. “We thought we’d never see it.”

“The pandemic delayed us quite a bit, but we had great leadership,” Arnold commented. “It just shows itself, because we are off and running now.”

Tyler Tate, president of Lewis Contractors, said the company is enthusiastic about making the 2,400-family parish’s dream a reality.

“We are partaking in the act of creation, in our own humble way,” he said. “We see it as one of the many ways to glorify God. I know you’ve been on this journey for some time, and now we’ll enter together probably the most exciting phase. We will fulfill that trust you have placed in us.”

Reprinted from:
Liptak, Matthew, “Ellicott City parish moves forward with major capital projects.” Catholic Review, June 7, 2022