Published August 7, 2014
DULUTH—St. Monica Church broke ground on construction of St. Augustine Hall and Mary, Mother of the Eucharist Chapel in May 2013. The additions were complete in January 2014, and parishioners then started the process of completing the interior spaces, including flooring, and the landscaping outdoors.
“We’re still actually working,” said Father Jack Durkin, pastor.
St. Augustine Hall is a divisible space that can provide overflow seating for 400 people at Mass and has a state-of-the art sound system offering incredible audiovisual capabilities for presentation of compelling programs.
“It offers us so many more opportunities,” said Father Durkin.
Father Durkin said that many of the events would be geared toward the “New Evangelization,” including a program called ABLAZE. This adult formation program will be held following the 8 a.m. Sunday Mass beginning Sept. 7.
The hall will also provide the space for teen gatherings, wedding receptions and dinners for families attending the funeral of a loved one. The parish recently celebrated the ordination of Father Junot Nelvy to the priesthood with a reception in the new hall.
The project also included a new kitchen and additional restrooms. Dennis Kelly, senior project manager for Catholic Construction Services, said the expansion adds 13,000 square feet to the church. The architect was CDH Partners, Inc. The general contractor was Lusk and Company of Alpharetta and the project cost was just over $2.2 million. However, this did not include the kitchen equipment, adoration chapel finishes, furniture and the AV system for the hall.
The parish’s building committee chair was David McLaughlin, who coordinated all details, including the design and installation of the audiovisual system. Kelly said it’s probably “one of the best parish hall AV systems in the entire Archdiocese of Atlanta.” He added that McLaughlin’s work was absolutely tireless.
“I wish every parish had a David McLaughlin,” said Kelly.
Added benefits of the project were the connections formed by parishioners, said Father Durkin. A lot of those volunteers, who were strangers before, now know one another.
A time-lapse video by Dennis Andrews of the building project and audio of the groundbreaking and dedication can be seen here.