By Bridget LaMonica
For The Villager
Big changes are in the works for St. Eulalia's Parish of Roaring Brook, as they implement a $1.9 million dollar renovation plan to better serve their parishioners.
St. Eulalia's Parish has been a cornerstone of community for many years. The parish found its beginning when it separated from St. Catherine's parish and became St. Eulailia's in 1950.
When the membership outgrew it's small church, the parish purchased land on Blue Shutters Road for the first major expansion project. The church buildings included the rectory, chapel and religious education classrooms.
The church is still in operation at that location where it was first dedicated on July 15, 1984. At that time, three hundred families were in attendance, with seventy five kids in the youth programs.
In 2014, it became apparent that another expansion was needed to better serve the church's growing numbers. That three hundred families turned into eleven hundred. The children in the youth program soared to 353.
That initial plan turned into the $1.9 million dollar project that will profoundly add to the space and services available at the church.
Project highlights include a new education wing to accommodate the growing number of students in the youth programs, expansion of the lobby and gathering area of the parish and new multi-purpose meeting rooms.
Other additions include new restrooms downstairs for teachers and students, expanded restrooms in the Parish Center, storage areas and general renovations to the Parish Center.
Parish pastoral council member Jerry Mahon describes this monumental project as the third cornerstone for St. Eulalia's, with the first two being the original building and the initial construction of the parish on Blue Shutters Road.
Fund-raising for the project is ongoing, but it is currently at 80% of the goal and the groundbreaking remains on schedule.
Kids and parents in the parish will especially benefit from the expansion.
Mahon described the classrooms, as shown in their State of the Parish video on their website, as so full the kids couldn't all sit down.
“[The excitement] for us is finally giving the ministry's people and kids in the church the space,” said Jerry Mahon. “Now we have a place where we don't feel cramped in.”
The parish had broken up the children into age groups for different times, with younger kids in the morning and older kids later in the day which was difficult for some parents with children of different ages. The expansion will make it easier on parent's schedules.
The children of the parish are numerous and exuberant. Mahon described their activities in the classroom as full of energy. The children play with instruments, participate in mass and singing, and join the monsignor when he does his homily at the altar.
The lobby and gathering area expansion also provides a nice place for parents to pick up their children after their classes.
Members of the St. Eulalia Parish Pastoral Council met recently to plan for the groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for June 24, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. with Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton.
Everyone, not just current parishioners, are invited to attend the groundbreaking.
“We are pleased and profoundly grateful that with the support of so many, our goal has been reached,” said Mahon. “The impact of this project will benefit members of our Parish and our community for generations to come.”
Even with this large project in place, there's still untapped potential at the church property on Blue Shutters Road.
The parish sits on seventy acres of land just waiting to be re purposed. In fact, the location of the new firehouse is actually a piece of that land originally owned by St. Eulalia's.
“We had talked about what is the vision for that land for the next generation,” said Mahon. “I think there's a lot of opportunity there.”
Mahon stated that plans for the property were not set yet, but several community-enhancing ideas were discussed.
Other events to look forward to are the annual 5K Run on July 8 and the popular monthly breakfast. The church also donates money on a weekly basis to the North Pocono Food Pantry.
St. Eulalia Parish is located at 214 Blue Shutters Road in Roaring Brook Twp., Pennsylvania 18444-7615.
Schedule of Events
4:00 p.m. – Celebration of our Vigil Mass with the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton.
5:10 p.m. – Ground Breaking on front lawn of the Parish Center.
5:30 p.m. – Reception, Gathering and Tours at Parish Center. Light refreshments will be served.