Once in a while the urge strikes me to do some Catholic tourism. For example, I visited the Romanesque building at St. John Neumann Church when it was brand new but my wife and son had never seen it. Yesterday we had an opportunity to head out to Farragut for the 10:30 a.m. Mass.
Fr. Patrick Garrity used his part of his homily to give the congregation a status update on his first five months as pastor at the parish. He pointed out that the church is not a building. The church is the people. However, they still have a couple of immediate construction projects on tap. Although beautiful, the cavernous church does not have good acoustics. However they are working on improving the sound system. For now, the music is played slowly in an effort to compensate. The only song that sounded good to me was the meditation song after Communion, which was sung by the choir without the congregation.
They should finally break ground for a rectory in about two weeks. The Town of Farragut rezoned a corner of the property as residential, which will allow the rectory to be considered a home instead of a commercial building. It will house two priests with space and facilities for a elderly retired priest to join them in the future. There will be two guest rooms upstairs, one of which will be left unfinished for the time being.
The location of the rectory will necessitate the demolition of the old parish office. A new office and youth center will be built between the church and school. Fr. Garrity mentioned that someone complained to him about the building expenses and incorrectly claimed that the new rectory would cost $800,000. It won’t be anywhere near that much. From what I’ve heard, that figure is actually much closer to the reported cost of the Bishop’s new residence.
Fr. Garrity is working on repopulating several committees that will be charged with updating their various by-laws. He wants to create more opportunities for the parishioners to gather. He mentioned a possible ice cream social or perhaps a monthly lunch for senior citizens. He wants it to be during the day so they don’t have to drive at night.