HIGHLAND -- On Sunday, Sept. 28, at 2 p.m. Bishop William H. Bullock will preside at the dedication of the new SS. Anthony and Philip Church in Highland.
The members of SS. Anthony and Philip Parish invite everyone to share in their joy at this festive celebration.
After much planning, hard work, fervent prayers, dedicated commitment, and many individual sacrifices, the Catholic faith community in Highland is ready and eager to open the doors to its new facility.
During the planning stage the parishioners presented to the architect an extensive wish list of features and details they hoped would become a reality in their new house of worship. Some had to be eliminated or at least postponed, but many are now an integral part of the new structure.
The building phase, named Project Now, included numerous fundraisers, pledges of financial support, and outright gifts from past and present parish members and friends from outside the parish, as well as donations of time and talent by local artisans and skilled workers.
At a cost of $4.3 million, the project is still in need of funding to complete religious education classrooms, a fellowship hall and kitchen on the lower level, as well as the bell tower, carport, and landscaping surrounding the church.
Features of new facility
The new facility is efficiently climate controlled with air conditioning and heating. It is easily accessible to handicapped persons, not only at its entrances, but also by way of a ramp leading to the sanctuary. The ambo can be easily raised and lowered to allow readers in wheelchairs and children to be seen when they proclaim the Word.
An important part of the new building is the gathering space. This large area just before parishioners enter the nave is crowned by a cupola which allows natural light to brighten this area. This gathering space will encourage socializing before and after Mass and special occasions.
Located on either side of the main doors to the church proper are two stained glass windows that replicate the windows in St. Anthony Church and St. Philip Church. These windows celebrate the history of Highland's Catholic faith communities and guide its parishioners into the worship space of the Church of SS. Anthony and Philip.
Interior of the church
At the entrance to the nave is the baptismal font with holy water flowing from three bowls into a basin. It offers the opportunity to celebrate this rite of initiation to babies and adults in either pouring of water over the head or immersion.
The pews of the church are placed in a fan-shaped arrangement which allows all to be closer to the sanctuary and allows parishioners to participate more readily in the celebration.
Separated from the sanctuary by an etched glass wall is the Eucharistic Chapel with the tabernacle, chairs, and kneelers for private prayer. During Mass the altar is lit and the tabernacle's lights are dimmed. At other times the tabernacle will be lit to emphasize its importance.
The area of the nave itself is spacious and lofty. Large windows on three sides allow natural light to brighten this space. As with the gathering space, the nave is also crowned with a four windowed cupola. The stained glass windows of the cupola are dedicated to Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Outside and to the right of the front doors is the Easter fire pit. It will be used to light the fire that begins the Easter vigil. It will also be used to burn palms for the Ash Wednesday ceremony.
The lower level of the church, although not complete at this time, is accessible by way of a large staircase as well as an elevator. Parish members hope that in the future this space will become a place to bring the community together in fellowship.
SS. Anthony and Philip parishioners are indeed excited and thankful to have this opportunity to worship in such a beautiful new church. They extend a sincere invitation to all who wish to share in this dedication ceremony.
The faith community will host a reception following this ceremony. All visitors will have the opportunity to tour the new facility.