Simmons Parish Center dedicated Feb. 19
GREENSBORO — Parishioners, clergy, staff, benefactors and a Knights of Columbus honor guard all joined Bishop Peter J. Jugis for a special Mass, dedication and blessing of the new Simmons Parish Center Feb. 19 at St. Pius X Church. The Simmons Parish Center is now home for the Greensboro parish’s growing ministries and consolidates parish operations on its North Elm Street campus.
The 23,477-square-foot, $5 million parish center houses a large banquet hall, state-of-the-art commercial kitchen, meeting rooms, nursery and library, as well as parish offices.
“This is by far the best space the parish staff of St. Pius X has ever been afforded for workflow, etc.,” said staff member and parishioner Liz Pendergrass.
The building project caps the parish’s successful “Making a Place to Gather and Grow” campaign which was combined under the auspices of the Diocese of Charlotte’s “Forward in Faith, Hope, and Love” campaign. The $8.6 million parish campaign also helped to build the 22,885-square-foot DeJoy Primary Education Center at St. Pius X School next door.
“Blessed are the parishioners of St. Pius X Catholic Church on the day of the blessing and dedication of the new Simmons Parish Center,” Bishop Jugis said during his homily at the Feb. 19 Mass, calling the occasion “a great day to be blessed by the Lord.”
“Be perfect just as your Heavenly Father is perfect,” Bishop Jugis then encouraged everyone gathered, referring to the Gospel reading for the day. “Jesus is telling us we must mirror God’s goodness, and God’s love, and God’s holiness in our lives.
“The message is easy to remember. What (Jesus) is saying is be like God in your conduct, in your behavior, in your attitude. Since you are a member of the Kingdom of God, then, be like God who has begotten you as His dearly beloved children through the waters of baptism.”
The Greensboro parish has been building up the Kingdom of God and responding to unprecedented growth, especially over the past decade. The parish now has more than 1,800 registered families.
“This church has not only grown in numbers, but our ministries which serve those in need have grown tremendously,” noted Tita Wofford, parish council member and parishioner for more than 30 years.
From CROP Walk to Mobile Meals, Potter’s House to Room at the Inn, the Sunshine Club, We Care Committee, Dining for Friends and BackPack Beginnings, St. Pius X Church cares for others through more than 80 ministries.
“We have a long history of helping our neighbor,” said Krisan Walker, longtime parishioner and chair of the parish’s Community Life ministry. “That’s the best thing about St. Pius – we walk the walk. That’s 100 percent why I go there.”
“Our new parish center will serve our St. Pius X community as well as serve our neighbors in need through our outreach ministries,” said Carolyn Painley, parishioner and Community Life pastoral associate. “The Simmons Parish Center is truly a place for our parishioners to ‘gather and grow’ in the mission of Jesus Christ.”
The effort to build the Simmons Parish Center and the DeJoy Primary Education Center came on the heels of another successful building campaign for the parish.
A 2007 capital campaign, “Making a Place at the Table,” funded construction of the current 1,100-seat church, which replaced a much smaller church that had been built in 1981. The new church was dedicated by Bishop Jugis in 2010. The International Catholic Stewardship Council recognized “Making a Place at the Table” as the best overall campaign in 2007. In 2009, the same organization recognized the parish with the Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy Award for best stewardship parish internationally.
That first building campaign was barely over before parish leaders and Monsignor Anthony Marcaccio, pastor, were already planning how to make room for the parish’s growing ministries and community outreach work.
Rob Simmons, parishioner and major benefactor for the Simmons Parish Center, said he was inspired by what the parish had accomplished with that campaign and he wanted to contribute to that legacy.
“When we joined St. Pius, we got to experience the foundation that others before us had laid, sit in the beautiful church that others had built,” Simmons said. “In my heart, I feel it is my duty to keep it moving forward, helping to put in place what the parish needs so that those who come after can use and enjoy. I knew if we built it, they would come.”
“It’s a field of dreams,” Monsignor Marcaccio said in his remarks at the end of Mass. “I think it was over 10 years ago we had a vision to do something special on the corner of Cornwallis and Elm... It has been a dream of ours for a long time.”
Monsignor Marcaccio thanked the Simmons family and the many others who made it possible for the parish to “gather and grow.”
Then he noted, “The parish center we dedicate today is much more than a new office building or parish hall. I am very happy to say that the first things that happened there, even before the office was opened, were a marriage preparation class in the evening and a Bible study the following morning. Marriage prep and a Bible study – think of it in terms of Word and Sacrament. That’s why this building was built.”
“The new Simmons Parish Center, the Father Connolly Athletic Center, the DeJoy Primary Education Center – all of these ‘centers’ point to this and flow from this,” he emphasized, pointing to the tabernacle, “our true center – the source and summit of our spiritual life – the Eucharist and Jesus Christ, who is the center of all that we do at St. Pius X.”
— Georgianna Penn, Correspondent