May 6, 2013
Amarillo—Groundbreaking for the new Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Family Center will take place Friday, May 10 at 6:00pm on the church grounds at 1210 Southeast 11th Street, according to Father Jose Gomez, pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.
According to diocesan records, the new building is the first new construction on the Our Lady of Guadalupe campus since the dedication of the current church building on Dec. 12, 1949.
The Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Family Center will encompass 6,500 square feet and replaces the former San Juan Diego Spiritual Guidance Center, which was moved earlier this year to East 12th Street. Features of the new building include:
• A full kitchen, including a wash area;
• A reception/gathering area, which will seat 500;
• A storage closet;
• Men’s and Women’s bathrooms;
• A conference room, able to seat 35;
• A sound room, with storage space;
• A gift shop with storage space.
Estimated cost of the new Parish Family Center is $950,000, according to Father Gomez, who said the parish has already raised more than $680,000 to cover the cost of construction. No timeline for completion has been set, pending last minute modifications.
Planning for the new Parish Family Center goes back to the first meetings to discuss a new building in 2007, according to parishioner Ramón Gutierrez, who along with fellow parishioner Sam Meza, are co-chairing the committee for the new building.
“We see the need for it,” said Gutierrez. “It’s not something we wanted, it’s something we need. We needed a new facility with bathrooms, a conference room and a place for our parish to celebrate life’s milestones. It’s something our parish needs.”
Gutierrez added that the new Parish Family Center will also be used for the annual Las Fiestas de Amarillo and will be rented out for community events, such as Quinceañeras and weddings.
“It will come in handy for these kinds of events and bring in funds that will help us in paying off the building’s expenses,” he said. “It’s something that we’ve needed for a long time to bring the community together. It’s also an alternative to renting facilities or rooms for DCCW (Diocesan Council of Catholic Women) or Knights of Columbus meetings—we’ll be able to have those meetings and other gatherings in our own building.”
Meza said it has not been difficult to get the community together to plan the new Parish Family Center. “Most people want a new building and they keep asking us what’s taking so long, when we keep telling them they need to loosen up a little more money,” he said. “People have been enthusiastic from the very beginning and they’re happy to see this project come to fruition, to see something come from all this hard work.
“We believe that once ground is broken and the walls start going up, the enthusiasm will pick up and we’ll see more donations come in and people will continue to come together as a community. You could see the enthusiasm in our parishioners when we announced the groundbreaking for the new building during the weekend Masses on April 20-21.”
“After six years, we’re finally seeing the fruits of our labor,” said Gutierrez.
“This new building has been the dream of many of our elder parishioners for a long time,” said Father Gomez. “For many years, parishioners had to go elsewhere after Mass to have a cup of coffee, because we had no place to gather and fellowship. A new building like this will help build fellowship and community and it is an advantage in many ways for our parish.
“It is a new day for the elders of our parish. They are seeing all the dreams of a new building finally accomplished after many years of great sacrifice and efforts to do something, not just for our faith community, but the community in general.”
Gutierrez said the brick on the Parish Family Center will be matched as close as possible to the brick at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. “We’ll have a stained glass image of San Juan Diego that was formerly in our Spiritual Guidance Center on the front of the new building,” he said. “The building will be inset, so it doesn’t take away from the beauty of the church.”
The drawings for the new building were created by Richard Constancio of Shiver-Megert & Associates of Amarillo. A contractor has not been finalized at this time, according to Gutierrez.
Father Gomez, along with Gutierrez and Meza, told The West Texas Catholic that many people have been generous supporters of the Parish Family Center building project. “We have had amazing support from folks like Raymond Gaitan and from businesses like United Supermarkets and Amigo, who have been huge supporters,” said Meza. “We are also grateful to Amarillo National Bank, Joe Solis, David Elizalde with David’s Quality Electric and the Corte Guadalupana.
“We also wish to thank the late-Monsignor Joseph Tash and his parish family at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Mark Palacio, Pete F. Mendez, Johnny Valdez, Randy and Linda Brown and Margaret Mendoza for their outstanding support of this project.”
Additional details on the new Parish Family Center can be found on the Our Lady of Guadalupe parish website, www.ourladyofguadalupeamarillo.com.