VIERA — With the constant construction in Viera of apartments, restaurants and shops, local parishioners of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church have eagerly awaited the completion of their church for the past two years.
Bishop John Noonan from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orlando will celebrate the dedication Mass of the new church, scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, at 5655 Stadium Parkway.
Doors open at 9 a.m. and a reception will follow immediately in the adjacent Parish Life Center.
“The dedication Mass is something spectacular that every Catholic should have as a ‘Bucket List’ to be part of,” said Rev. John Britto, c.s.c., member of the Congregation of Holy Cross (also known by parishioners as ‘Father John’).
“This is something that happens once in a lifetime for a parish, so it’s very significant when people have been with a project from the beginning to the end,” he said. “To be able to enter into the sanctuary is like the Psalms saying ‘Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.’ You know, that feeling of rejoicing, sense of contentment, sense of gratitude to God for what he has done.”
The dedication Mass will follow a series of steps that varies slightly from a regular celebratory Mass, and can take at minimum two hours, Father John said.
It has been a dream of the St. John’s Catholic community, founded in 2001, to see a church being built after having celebrated Mass in the nearby government center from 2001 to 2007, and then moving to the Parish Life Center’s Holy Cross Hall in 2007, less than two miles away.
The new church was constructed in the basilica style by Atlanta architects Lyman Davidson Dooley, Inc. for $7 million. Orlando-based Rieker Duley Construction Company helped with the drywall finishing of the ceiling.
The 19,000-square-foot building will seat 1,050 worshippers on curved red oak pews, a substantial increase from the 750 seats at the Holy Cross Hall in the Parish Life Center.
“Everybody who has walked in was awed,” Father John said in regard to parishioner’s reaction to seeing the new building. “They are amazed and happy.”
The nave ceiling reaches to 58 feet with an intricate double-barrel vault of curving planes. Each of the 12 large-arched windows and small clerestory windows will eventually feature stained glass installed behind hurricane-impact glass.
According to a press release, “A member of the U.S. Green Building Council, Rieker Duley estimates the heavily insulated church to be three times more energy-efficient than the Holy Cross Hall on the same grounds.”
The new church has included a perpetual adoration chapel along with a confessional.
An additional parking lot has been paved to allow 65 spots for vehicles, bringing the total number of available paved parking spots to 130.
The Parish Life Center originally was built intended to be used as a multi-purpose hall and a temporary space until the new church could be built, according to Father John. It will continue to be used for various parish activities and events.
For more information, call (321) 637-9650 visit www.stjohnviera.org.