By MARY ANNE CASTRANIO, Staff Writer | Published October 13, 2005
The cupola was raised gently by crane to the top of Our Lady of the Assumption Church’s new church building on a sunlit day at the end of August.
Students and teachers at OLA School came to the windows for brief moments to view the exciting happenings outside, as the base of the cupola, the top portion and finally the finial were painstakingly lifted to their places on the roof of the new church over a period of four to five hours. Other observers stayed longer, enjoying the drama of the workers placing the cupola “just so” on the roof of the beautiful new Gothic structure.
When the cupola was safely in place, Father James McGoldrick, SM, pastor of this in-town church of about 1,000 parishioners, braved the heights to bless the new cupola with holy water from atop the crane, asking for continuing blessings for this active parish near Dunwoody and Chamblee and just inside I-285.
The church is nearly finished, Father McGoldrick said in a phone interview Oct. 10. He noted that the building of this new church has taken two years and five months from when the work on the site began on June 1, 2003. During the building phase, one of the homeowners in this quiet, peaceful neighborhood tucked away just off Ashford-Dunwoody Road questioned whether the plans for the new church were in violation of zoning laws in DeKalb County. Construction was halted at the end of 2003 as the matter was debated in court, finally beginning again in May 2004. Father McGoldrick, quietly celebratory at the notion that the church was nearly complete, said, “The new church really began in 1999 when we started raising the money.” This new structure, so long in coming, is the realization of long-held dreams of those who attend OLA.
The church will be dedicated on Friday, Nov. 4, from 7 to 10 p.m. with a service beginning in the school’s gymnasium, where Masses have been held since the building phase started. Those attending will process to the new building for Mass with Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory and Archbishop-emeritus John F. Donoghue. Archbishop Gregory will anoint the altar in the church, while Archbishop Donoghue, who was the leader of the Atlanta Archdiocese when construction began, will anoint the altar in the daily chapel.
After Mass a reception will be held in the gymnasium.
Attendance at the dedication is limited to those who obtained tickets for the event. All tickets have already been reserved. Others wishing to visit the new church and celebrate with the parish community are invited to attend Masses at the church during the weekend of Nov. 5-6, during which other parts of the church will be blessed. Mass times are 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, and 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6.
Our Lady of the Assumption Church is located at 1350 Hearst Drive, NE, Atlanta.
For more information about the church, contact the parish office at (404) 261-7181.