On May 29, Bishop Richard F. Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee formally dedicated Glenmary’s St. John Paul II mission church in Grainger County, Tennessee.
It was a joyous occasion for the parishioners and pastor Father Neil Pezzulo.
“People were happy about finally being in the new space,” he said. “We broke ground over two years ago and there was some burn out with the project because it took a long time to complete.”
The parishioners began using the new church on Ash Wednesday, but the dedication made things official. Bishop Stika remarked during the Mass on the benefits Glenmary has brought to his diocese.
“One of the great decisions I’ve made in my life as a bishop was to say yes to the Glenmary community when they wanted to come back to the diocese,” Bishop Stika said. “Because of their work and their ambition and their dedication, we now have two new parishes and this mission: we have St. Michael the Archangel [in Erwin] and St. Teresa of Kolkata and now the mission of St. John Paul.”
In the long term, Father Neil said the church may serve as a multipurpose building or hall, and a new church could be built, but that may be a decade away.
“Our big plan for now is to decide how we now want to be Church and how to engage our sisters and brothers in Christ,” he said.
To learn more about the dedication, see this story in The East Tennessee Catholic.