Our Needs

“Siempre Adelante” – “Moving Forward Always”, Father Serra’s saying is a constant encouragement that we must be moving in the direction of serving the Kingdom of God.

Father Serra Parish started with only 300 families on August 15, 1987.  Today we have a little over 3,000 families—that’s ten times what we started with! Besides larger numbers in religious education and confirmation preparation, we have many more activities and ministries going on than even five years ago. 

This growth in programs has our current parish center overwhelmed.  For example:
•    What was originally the Pastor’s Office has been subdivided into three offices,

  • •    One small office houses the Pastoral Associate;
  • •    A second that is a bit larger houses the Youth Ministry Coordinator and a Secretary/Volunteer;
  • •    The larger office houses the Business Manager and Accountant.

•    The main office once again has two desks in it—the main secretary and a Faith Formation Secretary.
•    The former adoration chapel is home to the Director of Faith Formation and her administrative assistant.
•    The former cry room is now the pastor’s office and conference room—Bereavement, Finance, Youth Ministry Core and Peer Teams; Pastoral Council all meet there.
•    A corner of Classroom 2 is also the office for the Associate Pastor, as well as the collection counting room.
•    The office for the Pre-school Director is a corner of Classroom 1 which is also used as a meeting room.

The Need to Build a New Early Childhood Educational Center

In our efforts to serve as many ministry groups as we could, along with our Faith Formation program, there was a time when the current classrooms were being set up and torn down frequently throughout the day to allow for various uses by all the ministries and Religious Education vying for space.  Now though, in order to save labor hours, put less wear and tear on furniture, and to provide a safer and larger space for Religious Education students, those rooms are no longer set and reset twice a day.  But now we are faced with a choice of either tear down and set up, or some room space not being used at times. This is in addition to the fact that the classrooms are too small and narrow to adequately serve our purposes.  Children who are in parish religious education deserve to be catechized in a suitable space and environment.

Classrooms 1 and 2 are currently used for young adults and adults. Because rooms 3 and 4 are set up for the youngest children, only Mission Bell, younger grades of Religious Education and Sunday Children’s Liturgy of the Word use these rooms.  Classroom 5 is a room used to best accommodate a variety of needs—from RE and Confirmation Prep to Virtus training and adult meetings. Three portable classrooms are set up in Father Serra Hall for religious education, and occasionally even the stage is used as a classroom. There are lots of regulations about which ages can be together; therefore it makes it difficult when moving in and out of rooms between adults and children.

Currently, Mission Bell, our early childhood education program is limited to a three-day-a-week Pre-Kindergarten and a two-day-a-week Pre-school.  And since most of our parents work, we would like to expand to a program that meets more days a week than we currently have, but our existing facilities do not allow us to do this.  The current building does not have the room to provide this expanded care.

The Need for Additional Parking

As most of you who attend Mass on weekends know, parking is a significant problem, and that we lack a proper and safe parking area on Holy Days and special events. Parking in an open field is not convenient, welcoming or safe.

The Need for a Detached Daily Mass Chapel

Additionally, since we only have the main church, we are limited to the number of ceremonies that we can hold on any given day.  We have as many as six functions on Saturdays, and sadly we must say “no” to some requests for funerals, weddings and Quinceañeras. Also, many of the ceremonies being held in the church are attended by fewer than 150 people that could be better served in smaller, more intimate surroundings using less heat and electricity. Because our church has a seating capacity for 1,120 people and it must serve all our sacramental needs regardless of the number attending, and when not filled it feels very cavernous and smaller groups are swallowed up in the larger church.

Furthermore, the current location of the adoration chapel is too isolated to allow safe access for Eucharistic adoration after dark.

The Need for Faith Formation Classrooms

Our growing parish also struggles with finding suitable and available classrooms for our faith formation classes. Besides Mission Bell Preschool, we also provide Faith Formation Classes for Pre-K thru 8th grade children. The popular times of these faith formation classrooms are filled to maximum capacity.  In 2012 we had 478 children enrolled in Religious Education classes, 170 received their First Holy Communion and 76 received the Sacrament of Confirmation.  In 2013, we had 532 children enrolled in Religious Education classes, 200 received First Holy Communion and 127 received the Sacrament of Confirmation.  As our numbers show, we are a growing, thriving parish.

•    The rooms we use for Early Childhood Education are the same being used for the faith formation classes and adult ministries in the afternoon into the evening.  The difficulty is the transition and short set-up time between the different class schedules.

  • •    The first session goes from 4:00 PM to 5:15 PM, and the second from 5:45 PM to 7:00 PM;
  • •    The young adult and adult confirmation sessions and other ministries begin at 7:00 PM.

•    Also because of the “Safeguard the Children” polices, we must be sensitive to where different meetings are held. When children are in a classroom, no unauthorized adult can come in and use the classrooms until all children have been released to a parent or pre-authorized guardian by their teacher.  This causes some interruptions and delays when religion education classes are ending and adult ministries are beginning.
•    As mentioned earlier we also have to set up portable classroom walls in the Father Serra Hall to provide more space to catechize or meet. 
•    In addition, the choir room and church are used for confirmation classes.

So despite our best efforts to create and utilize all usable space, our current schedule of classes, meetings, prayer groups, and societies are too numerous, and we often have to turn away requests from parishioners and the community.

The Need for Multipurpose Building with High School Sized Gym and Indoor Outdoor Stage

Finally, we also lack a larger, flexible, multi-use facility.  Our continued and anticipated future growth makes it difficult to provide recreational and other fellowship activities and functions for our growing parish.  Our existing Father Serra Parish Center cannot handle all of the programs and ministries we wish to provide for our members.  It lacks the flexibility and size we need to provide such things as wellness programs and other recreational activities for our youth and faith community which would increase parish involvement and fellowship.