CARLSBAD — On a day that marked the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church commemorated the day by dedicating its new parish center, and demonstrating that despite adversity, Americans will always continue moving forward.
The Rev. Donald Coleman, pastor at St. Elizabeth Seton, began the dedication with a prayer for those who lost their lives, who gave their lives to save others and who have given their lives since to protect our freedom.
“This will be a place to come to know one another and give witness to our faith,” Coleman said. “This is indeed a great day.”
The parish, on Santa Isabel Street at the southwest corner of Alga Road and El Fuerte Street, has come a long way since August 1977, when it began with about 30 families meeting at La Costa Resort, Coleman said.
The new 18,000-square-foot, two-story facility was built to accommodate the growing parish, which now includes more than 2,500 registered families, 20-plus ministries and about 1,000 kindergartens through 10th-grade students in religious education.
Features include an upstairs social hall with a dance floor and stage that will be available for wedding receptions and other major events. It also includes a commercial kitchen, several downstairs meeting rooms and a designated room for the youth group.
Though not required, parking spaces were added as part of the project, however, weekend parking will not be affected since the use permit does not allow adult activities in the parish center during regular church services.
The old parish hall, built in 1979, is a 5,700-square-foot building that had been booked to near capacity seven days a week. Now called the conference center, it will continue to be used for church events and community outreach groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous.
Construction on the new center began shortly after a groundbreaking ceremony in June 2010. The estimated cost is $8 million. Slightly more than $5.26 million has been raised through parishioner donations from about half of the registered members.
The remaining funds will come from a loan from the Diocese of San Diego to be paid by continued donations.
The new building was designed by Domusstudio Architecture, which received awards for its design of the St. Elizabeth Seton church and their work on the 1997 Grand Orchid.