On Palm Sunday, 03-24-02, the St Therese Church parishioners, diocesan representatives and community leaders broke ground for a new worship facility. The ceremony took place after the 11: 30am mass with Bishop John M. D’Arcy and Father Joseph Rulli presiding. Unlike other groundbreakings, all parishioners were invited to bring their own shovels. The groundbreaking continues a four-year pledge drive which was initiated on Nov. 1st, 2000, (The Feast of All Saints) for a new church and renovation of the current worship space for classroom use.
The original St. Therese Parish was an “army-style” chapel from Baer Field that was relocated from the air base to the Waynedale parish grounds in 1948. The old Army Chapel caught fire in 1950 and then again in 1970. After the second fire St. Therese made a decision to redesign the school into a temporary school/church combination. In the mid-sixties portable classrooms had to be brought in to accommodate the needs of the school.
At present, 200 students are enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade. More than 2200 parishioners attend mass in the “temporary church” created in the school 32 years ago. The new church will seat six hundred people and the old church will be remodeled for exclusive use as a school. Completion of the project is scheduled for Palm Sunday, 2003, at a cost of 3.35 million dollars. The master building plan calls for the addition of new parish offices, including space for meetings, adult education, and the extension of the existing parish hall. Bishop John M. D’Arcy said at the groundbreaking, “The commitment from the St. Therese parishioners is especially significant as this parish is made up of working people. People that understand the worth of a project and are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to make it happen.”