Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


St. Philip Benizi Enjoys New Building’s Blessing

Published January 28, 2007

Although the weekend of Dec. 2-3, 2006, officially marked the end of St. Philip Benizi Church’s three-year capital campaign, parishioners and visitors alike will reap the benefits and blessings of the building project for many years to come.  The new religious education building, blessed on September 9, 2006, by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, is already in full use and enjoyed by all who attend the many programs available — from infants to adults.

With the growing number of registered families, groups and activities, the parish was in need of additional classroom and meeting space.  The well-designed spacious architectural structure gives the parish just that … and much more.  Attached to the side of the main church by a long hallway, the addition seems to have always existed.

A tour of the new 18,165 square-foot building reveals a large lobby, reception area, work room, break room, three offices, 15 classrooms, nursery, choir room, preparation room for brides, and 26 closet/storage rooms — not to mention a new playground area behind the building, equipped with bright, colorful equipment and slide that the preschool children thoroughly enjoy.  The spacious classrooms give a greater number of people an opportunity to attend many of the religious education classes that are offered.  Television monitors mounted on the walls also provide the teachers the capability of using videos for instruction.  The vividly colored tables and chairs, picture windows and brightly decorated walls in many of the classrooms provide an inviting atmosphere for learning for the preschool and elementary students.  No longer having to find a place for large groups to rehearse, St. Philip’s many choirs now have a room of their own and plenty of storage space for their music and equipment.

However, not all who benefited from the capital campaign are “housed” in the new religious education building.  The sacred art and environment committee is pleased to have a room in the “old” religious education building where they can store all the decorations needed for the liturgical year — no more climbing up and down precarious attic stairs.

The religious articles gift shop moved from its small corner of the parish hall into its own, conveniently located room (the former choir room) near the gathering area of the church.  Opened for sales after some of the weekend Masses, the shop is run by volunteers who keep it well stocked for those who want to buy items for gift-giving, as well as for personal, spiritual growth.

Printer Jim Sieben was thrilled to move the print shop into a large room in the basement of the older building.  Previously, the print shop was housed in a small storage room off the friar’s garage.  With all the printing equipment filling that small space, there was barely enough room for two people to work.  With the new location, Sieben has been able to spread out the equipment and supplies, and still has plenty of room to walk around.  When asked about the new location, he said, “I have so much space now that I could run around the room.!”

Needless to say, the parishioners at St. Philip Benizi sacrificed much during this three-year period with their monetary pledges and donations, in order to make the campaign a success.  However, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the leadership, support and attention to detail of their pastor, Father Greg Hartmayer, OFM Conv., the advice and supervision of the building committee, and the many professional and lay people working together, “the dream has become a reality.”