GREENVILLE, Maine — The final Mass at Holy Family Catholic Church, 145 Pritham Avenue, will be celebrated at 8 a.m. Sunday before the building is demolished and construction on a new sanctuary, community hall and church office begin.
The Mass will include a special procession with the statues of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland. The statues will be stored in the rectory chapel until the new church is constructed. There also will be a second collection during weekend Masses to benefit the Holy Family Building Fund.
So far, the parish has raised more than $1.5 million toward construction, set to begin in April, Dave Guthro, spokesman for the diocese said Monday in a press release.
“We’ve been talking about it for probably eight or 10 years, that the building has been deteriorating, and we’ve been putting Band-Aids on it, trying to keep it, but it’s gotten to the point that it’s better to invest in a new building,” Elizabeth Foote, a member of the parish’s development committee, said in the press release.
“We have a lot of older parishioners. We’re an aging community, and they can’t come to the Mass because of the stairs.”
For that reason, in addition to being energy efficient and containing enhancements such as radiant heat in the floor, the new building will be one floor with no steps, according to Guthro.
“I think because of how it’s going to be on one floor, we will have new members,” said Cecile Shields, who serves on the parish’s building and development committees. “I think that definitely will make a difference for us absolutely.”
Many of the 100-year-old building’s features will be used in the new building, according to the diocese.
The 18 nave and sanctuary stained glass windows will be removed, restored, and reinstalled into the new church in the same locations, Guthro said. The original confessional woodworking, tabernacle, and baptismal font will be incorporated.
The new steeple will have the current cross memorial reinstalled at its top and the original Holy Family statue will be placed on the facade of a covered entrance. The church bell also will be installed in the belfry over the entrance.
Inside the new church, 20 white oak pews from the Good Shepherd Sisters’ convent in Old Orchard Beach will be installed with increased spacing between the pews and fully functional kneelers, Guthro said.
Parishioners hope the new community hall, which will seat 150 people and include a new kitchen will serve as a gathering place for the community.
Beginning March 25, Masses will be held at 4 p.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m. Sundays at the Union Evangelical Church on Moosehead Lake Road in Greenville.
The construction of the new church, sanctuary, and nave should be completed sometime next winter, Guthro said. The new parish offices and community hall will be completed in the spring of 2018. The rectory renovations are planned for the summer of 2019, contingent on fundraising.
“I think that parishioners are all going to be pleased that it’s going to have a lot of character, and it’s going to have a lot of history that it will carry forward with it,” Foote said.
Individuals or businesses wishing to contribute toward construction of the new church may contact the parish at 695-2262 or the Diocese of Portland’s Office of Development at 321-7835. Memorial donations can also be made in memory of a relative or friend, or in honor of a birthday or anniversary.