Cardinal Dolan blessed St. Mary’s new, 7,000-square-foot parish center in Washingtonville Sept. 7.
“It was terrific. It could not have gone smoother,” Father Jeffrey Maurer, pastor of St. Mary’s, told CNY.
About 550 people attended vespers and dedication of the center, which has 10 classrooms and parish offices. St. Mary’s has 2,300 people present at Masses each weekend, and 750 children in grades one through seven attend religious education classes.
Ground was broken last November for the building, which was part of the archdiocese’s $200 million Renew + Rebuild Capital Campaign to support parishes, clergy, schools and charities. The center’s cost was budgeted at $2.6 million, but was completed about $250,000 below the original estimate, according to Father Maurer.
Following the dedication, some 800 parishioners turned up for a pig roast organized by the parish’s Catholic Daughters of the Americas and Knights of Columbus. An ice cream truck stopped by with dessert, and a disc jockey entertained with music.
St. Mary’s also honored Sister Kathleen Treanor, P.B.V.M., formerly Sister Mary Patricia, as she renewed her vows to mark her 60th jubilee with the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Sister Kathleen served as St. Mary’s director of religious education for 23 years. She is now director of home-based religious education and does pastoral work for the parish.
“She’s the most popular person in this place because she’s a fantastic person,” Father Maurer said. “She’s humble. She’s a servant. She’s a great person. You can’t ask for a better nun.”
On Sept. 10, 40 parishioners braved the rainy weather for a few hours to move everything from the old center, which will now be used for the food pantry and thrift shop, to the new one.
Brian Tighe, a parishioner of St. Mary’s for 24 years, was among the volunteers.
“The whole parish is a family. It is family helping family,” Tighe said of the parishioners volunteering on the rainy day.
“(The center is) awesome,” he added. “The parish has grown immensely and the center meets the needs of our growing parish.”
The new parish center opened this week and religious education classes are scheduled to begin Sept. 23.
“It’s absolutely beautiful,” said Annemarie Caruso, a parishioner of St. Mary’s for 16 years.