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St. Mary’s Catholic Center breaks ground for new church

After more than a decade of planning and fundraising, St. Mary’s Catholic Church has begun construction on its new church.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Bishop Joe Vasquez from the Diocese of Austin, alongside other priests, students and the St. Mary’s community met at the current church for a mass followed by a blessing of the construction site and “turning of the dirt” by donors and church leaders.

Frank Shannon, Executive Director of Development for St. Mary’s said one of the reasons they are building this new church, is because they desperately needed more seating.

“Our current Church seats about 850 in the pews, which isn’t big enough for all the Aggie Catholics to have places to sit,” Shannon said, “we’re gonna build a church with 15 hundred seats.”

Shannon said this church is going to have a big impact on the community and as they planned the design, they had three values in mind - beauty, encounter and tradition.

“Beauty because beauty evangelizes, which will draw more of the faithful to the church,” Shannon said,” Encounter with the Lord and one another as they come into the church. And tradition because Aggies love tradition and so do Catholics, so we hope to accomplish all those things and bring more people to the church.”

Shannon said there is a lot of liturgy in the design of the church, like its crucifix design which Shannon said makes the church the mystical body of Christ.

“It will be a Byzantine-Romanesque design with some of the Spanish values of Texas incorporated into that as well, so going back thousands of years to the original church and some of those values to today,” Shannon said.

Current A&M student Anna Villalobos said she wouldn’t be who she is today if it wasn’t for St. Mary’s and she hopes this church will be a place that will foster growth for her and her fellow A&M students.

“The whole thing they do is to create disciples here and go out and evangelize the world and I really hope this new church is going to help us do with its growth here,” Villalobos said.

The total project will cost an estimated $28 million and with the beautiful architecture and artwork included, Shannon said it will be a landmark for the city of College Station and historic Northgate

It should take around 18 months to complete.