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Blessed New Parish Life Center Unveiled at St. Joseph in Olpe – The Leaven Catholic Newspaper

Archbishop Naumann adorns a floral garland around his neck and a tallit on his shoulders, in accordance with the traditions of Father Bathineni’s native India. The scene captured in the photograph by Jay Soldner exudes joy and warmth as parishioners of St. Joseph eagerly step into their newly inaugurated Parish Life Center on April 7. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, with a beaming smile, ceremoniously cuts the vibrant yellow ribbon adorning the entrance doors.

The consecration of this modern edifice followed a morning Mass at 9 a.m., presided over by Archbishop Naumann and co-celebrated by the esteemed pastor, Father Mohan Bathineni, with Deacon Philip Nguyen orchestrating the proceedings. Father Bathineni, in a moment of gratitude and reflection, expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the parishioners for their unwavering generosity, support, and sacrifices that culminated in the realization of this significant milestone.

Acknowledgments were also extended to Archbishop Naumann for his steadfast support, the collaborative efforts of the archdiocese, the diligent builders, and the visionary leadership of the former pastors. The transition from the old parish school, which once stood on the hallowed grounds, to this new architectural marvel was marked by a mix of nostalgia and anticipation.

Archbishop Naumann, embracing the cultural practices of Father Bathineni’s homeland, was adorned with a bouquet and a floral garland, while a traditional tallit graced his shoulders post the Mass ceremony. The intricate design of the tallit, a symbolic Jewish prayer shawl, featuring black, gold, and gray motifs on a pristine white fabric embellished with Hebrew inscriptions, added a touch of sacred elegance to the occasion.

The inaugural event hosted in the Parish Life Center was a delightful brunch, offering an array of pastries and beverages. The first guest to step foot into the newly christened center was Angie Bolz, the dedicated parish secretary, eager to lend a hand in organizing the celebratory feast. The journey from conception to realization of this $2.3 million project was made possible through a blend of financial resources, including a loan from the archdiocese, diligent fundraising initiatives, and the proceeds from the auction of the old school’s cherished memorabilia.

The architectural marvel, spanning 6,670 square feet, boasts a spacious main hall, cozy study rooms, essential amenities, and administrative offices, all meticulously designed to cater to the diverse needs of the parish community. The seamless integration of salvaged elements from the historic school building into the new structure pays homage to the rich legacy of St. Joseph parish, resonating deeply with lifelong members like Michelle Barnhart.

As the parishioners gathered to celebrate this momentous occasion, amidst echoes of resurrection and renewal, the sentiment of trust and faith echoed through the halls of the Parish Life Center, symbolizing a new chapter in the vibrant history of St. Joseph Parish in Olpe.