By Karen Vance
UNION TOWNSHIP - When St. Veronica Catholic Church in Clermont County celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1999, the parish considered hosting the dinner celebration at another church because of limited space.
Now, the parishioners are hoping an expansion - expected to cost $2.5 million to $2.8 million and open in August 2004 - means they'll have the space to celebrate the 75th anniversary without cramping their style.
The 1,570-family church at 4473 Mount Carmel-Tobasco Road in Union Township will break ground on the 20,000-square-foot parish center Sunday. The center will include a multipurpose room, dedicated art and music rooms for the 485-student school, meeting space and church offices.
The church's 11:30 a.m. Mass will be celebrated outside, followed by a groundbreaking ceremony and church picnic.
Address: 4473 Mount Carmel-Tobasco Road, Union Township
Current church completed in 1985
School: K-8, 485 students
Services: Saturday, 4 p.m.; Sunday, 8, 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.
"We've had a lot of growth in adult faith communities and youth ministry, but some of these groups have literally had to take up space at the Comboni Missions" in nearby Anderson Township, said Marilyn Bridges, chair of the parish council. "It's a nightmare to schedule meetings."
The Rev. Michael Flaherty, the pastor, said the church has become more involved in adult fellowship, with meetings every night of the week, and youth ministry, including a trip for 13 teens to work in Ecuador this summer.
While the activities have increased the church's spiritual growth, the space hasn't kept pace.
In January, the parish bought a home adjoining the church property to serve as the new rectory for Flaherty. The old building, which was attached to the church, will be demolished to make way for the parish center.
The project is part of a 10- to 15-year, three-phase plan, which includes additions to the church and school.
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