CARLSBAD — With blessings from Bishop Robert Brom of the Diocese of San Diego, St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church held a groundbreaking ceremony June 27 for a much-needed parish center that will help accommodate the growing religious education and ministry programs.
Membership at the church has quadrupled to approximately 2,400 families since 1995. The religious education program has grown from about 275 students to nearly 900 in the past 15 years.
More than 20 ministries, including Knights of Columbus, Women’s Auxiliary, Women’s Christian Fellowship, Bible study groups and Mothers of Preschoolers, use the existing 5,700-square-foot parish hall. The new two-story, 18,400-square-foot facility will include a social hall, larger kitchen, more meeting rooms and an area for teens, a group that currently has no designated space for activities.
It will be built on a grassy courtyard on the south side of the church’s 5-acre property on Santa Isabel Street at the southwest corner of Alga Road and El Fuerte Street.
The cost is estimated at $8 million. Approximately $5 million has been donated by parishioners. The diocese is providing a $3 million loan. Construction is expected to take one year.
In addition to the traditional groundbreaking activities, the event included presentations from the youth and young-adult leaders and various performances by 3- to 12-year-olds.
The youngsters were part of a performing arts workshop held by parishioner Connie Ramos Carrell, former star of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Carrell volunteered her time to teach the classes as a fundraiser to help build the new facility.
Also on hand was Carlsbad City Councilman Matt Hall. “Carlsbad is proud of who you are and what you do in this community,” Hall said.
Brom credited the Rev. Donald Coleman, pastor at St. Elizabeth, for the continued growth and success of the parish. “You have a great pastor,” Brom said. “He knows how to inspire.”