St. Peter, Forest Lake, dedicates new addition

| May 2, 2017 | 0 Comments

Archbishop Bernard Hebda blesses the new gathering space of St. Peter in Forest Lake April 30. Looking on, from left, is Father Robert Sipe, Father Father Ben Little, Father Don DeGrood and Father Daniel Bodin. Father Eugene Brown/For The Catholic Spirit

Archbishop Bernard Hebda dedicated a newly constructed addition at St. Peter in Forest Lake following Mass April 30.

The addition’s 14,500 square feet include a large gathering area, parish offices, adoration chapel, library and two school classrooms.

Preaching to a packed congregation, Archbishop Hebda encouraged the parish to use the new spaces to evangelize and teach the Gospel.

“We gauge the success of a parish not only on the beauty of its church and its facilities, but on how effectively we go forth into the community and credibly proclaim that Jesus Christ is risen,” he said.

Following Mass, he prayed in the gathering space and blessed the addition with holy water.

The new facade of St. Peter. Father Eugene Brown/For The Catholic Spirit

The dedication of the $5 million project marked the end of a decadelong discernment and planning process for the new facilities. In 2015, the 1,700-household parish raised $2.7 million through a capital campaign. Parish leaders used town hall-style meetings to assess the parish’s biggest needs.

“We knew the gathering space and adoration chapel were big demands,” said Father Daniel Bodin, pastor St. Peter’s, adding that work also needed to be done in the parish’s adjacent grade school.

Adorned with a stained glass window of the parish’s patron St. Peter, the new gathering space allows people to congregate and visit outside of the sanctuary before and after Masses. Since the new space opened in February, Father Bodin said he’s seen a “huge difference as far as building community with parishioners staying longer after Masses. They now have a facility that’s nice and beautiful to stand inside, especially with inclement weather.”

With the larger gathering space, the parish can now hold wakes before funerals — another reason there was a “large push” for the space, Father Bodin said. It also allows for extra seating and includes a pair of TV screens that carry closer views of the altar.

Parish staff are benefiting, too. Prior to the addition’s new offices, parish staff had minimal office space behind the sanctuary, and some staff worked in an annex across the parking lot. The addition includes new meeting spaces and a reception area adorned by the parish’s new logo, the keys of St. Peter.

A room behind the sanctuary was redesigned as the adoration chapel, with a large adjacent library. The chapel was formerly in another part of the parish campus that was not well lit at night. Some finishing touches remain, but the completed chapel will have wall panels with images of the sacraments. Father Bodin said the new location will allow the school to have better access to the chapel.

The addition was designed by MCL Architects and constructed by Sheehy Construction, both in St. Paul. Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens blessed the project at its groundbreaking in June 2016.

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