It was a day of thanksgiving Sunday at the Holy Family Catholic Parish in Essex Junction.
From inside the parish halls, to outside in the back lot, parishioners celebrated the end of a two year wait to break ground on a new parish hall.
"May this building be a fitting place for the teaching of our precious young people as they learn the riches of the Catholic faith," said Burlington Diocese Bishop Salvatore Matano. The Bishop took the honorary first dig and many others quickly pitched in, happy to be celebrating a new beginning.
"We're very grateful for God to give us the sun and it's not to chilly and enthusiastic people," said Fr. Charles Ranges with the Parish of Holy Family and St. Lawrence.
The old parish hall burned to the ground in July 2011 after it was struck by lightning. Since then, gatherings and religious education classes have been displaced. Parishioners hope the new center, which will feature six classrooms plus a great hall and a kitchen, will ignite enthusiasm in the church's youth and bring the greater community together.
"It will be a real coming together for our parish. It was a tragedy when it was burned down however no one was injured, so we're really happy to be able to come back stronger than ever," said Dave Robideau, a Holy Family parishioner.
The total cost for the project is $1.5 million and Fr. Ranges is hoping to raise another $500,000. He hopes the building will be up and running by October. "With the insurance money and the capital campaign, hopefully we will be able to put up the building without any debt," he said.
A joyous day to bring new life to church with strong ties to the community.