Light of the World Roman Catholic Church hopes it is less than a year away from completing a plan started almost 35 years ago.
The church, on West Bowles Avenue at South Oak Street, is set to break ground on an expansion that will provide a permanent worship space for parishioners. The current worship space, which seats about 700, is in a room originally designed to be a multipurpose area with no permanent seating or altar space.
“We’ve been worshiping in a space with basketball hoops at one end of the room,” said John Walsh, a member of the church from Littleton. “It just wasn’t a church.”
The Rev. Michael Pavlakovich from Light of the World said that after the church was built 34 years ago, the plan was to eventually add a permanent worship space onto the existing building. Since then, parishioners have been sitting on folding chairs and using cushions to kneel during prayers.
“What we’ve had to worship in is a shared space, just a big multipurpose room. And while it’s worked, it’s not the optimal place,” said Kurt Connolly, a member of the parish from Morrison who heads up the church’s financial committee. “This will have that feel of a traditional Catholic church as opposed to being a church in a large rec room.”
Along with providing a more traditional Catholic worship space, the expansion will let the church expand its activities and mission, Pavlakovich said.
“It will free up the larger space to have more opportunities for outreach, education and social times,” said Pavlakovich. “Our social space right now holds about 232 people max, and with a parish of 3,000 households, that’s not very much room.”
The church started fund-raising in early 2012 for the $3.2 million needed to start construction. Pavlakovich said the church expected it to take until at least 2015 to raise the money.
“People just came together. They wanted to see this happen,” Pavlakovich said. “(The amount we raised) shows where people’s priorities are, particularly in the parish. I’m very grateful. They’ve done an amazing job.”
Pavlakovich said donations came in all shapes and sizes, from large anonymous donors to the children of the parish donating their allowances and selling homemade goods.
The entire project will cost about $6.4 million. Pavlakovich said the rest will be financed through loans from the Archdiocese of Denver and additional fund-raising.
The church will break ground on the addition on Jan. 19. The goal, Connolly said, is to finish the project in time for this year’s Christmas Eve service.
“To have Christmas Eve services in a new space will … just make everybody feel great,” Connolly said.
Contact Ramsey Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine.