Tuesday, July 17, 2001

Parish finally has room to grow

Liberty's population is booming

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LIBERTY TWP. — It's not lack of interest but rather an overabundance of it that has prevented the Cincinnati Archdiocese's youngest parish from building a permanent home for more than a decade.

        St. Maximilian Kolbe parish, founded in Liberty Township, Butler County, in 1989, hopes to settle into its $5.6 million church by Christmas.

        “We could have built some time ago, but we would have had to build small, and that would have hurt the people who come later,” the Rev. John Porter said.

Still growing
               The parish spun off from St. John the Evangelist in West Chester Township when the population there began booming, but Liberty Township's growth has been equally strong.

        The influx has fueled a four-fold increase in the size of the parish in only a dozen years, Father Porter said. St. Max's membership now is about 2,000 families.

        Parishioners first worshipped in a school building but built a $1.8 million parish center in 1992. Even that location, however, of ten is standing-room-only.

        “We've been meeting in a gym for 12 years, so we're looking forward to a place that's truly dedicated to the liturgy,” said Mike Lippman of West Chester, a member of the parish council.

        The new, $5.6 million church is rising next to the parish center on Hamilton-Mason Road. It will seat 1,350, he said, giving St. Max plenty of room to grow.

        St. Max is the archdiocese's first new parish since 1984, according to church officials. That's when St. Margaret of York was founded in Deerfield Township, another fast-growing northern suburb of Cincinnati.

        The parish is paying half the construction costs and borrowing the other half from the archdiocese, the pastor said.


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