Story by Reagan Scott
CRETE (SNR) - Sacred Heart Church and St. James Parish in Crete held its annual fall dinner and festival Nov. 4.
This year’s festival was one of the most notable since its inception in the 1950s as it took place in the parish’s newly completed parish hall. Bishop James Conley was present to celebrate Mass and bless the addition Nov. 4.
The event, which featured such activities as children’s’ games, a silent auction and country store, had an estimated attendance of 525.
Charlotte James, president of the parish’s PCCW and coordinator for the fall dinner said, “The purpose of the event is to build community within our church. It’s a fun event, and I always look forward to it.”
Donna Havlat, who also helped to coordinate the event, said, “My favorite part of the fall dinner is getting to know so many people from our parish through working together. It’s good for the soul to witness people’s generosity in giving of their time.”
James and Havlat had both predicted that holding the dinner in the hall would increase attendance.
While hundreds of people are served at the event each year, the new space has capacity to seat 270 people, with easier access than the church’s previous hall.
Father Steven Major, pastor for Sacred Heart Church/Saint James Parish, said, “We wanted to have a hall that didn’t have steps to get in or out of.”
The old hall, which was built in the 1930s, had a lot of steps, and Father Major said that this kept a lot of people from going to events.
“The new parish hall is on one floor, so it’s very accessible,” James explained. The parking is also very handy and is very close by.”
In addition to featuring a larger space for events, the new hall has three meeting rooms, a new parish office and offices for two priests. Previously, the rectory served as the parish office, in addition to a living space for the parish priests.
Now that it’s completed, Father Major hopes that the hall will have an impact on the parish.
“I hope it becomes a place where the parish can gather and serve the needs of both the parish, and the larger community,” he said.
Father Major added that there is already a lot of interest in using the space, and events are quickly being scheduled there.
“We look forward to using the hall in the future for large and small study groups and easy access after Mass for fellowship. It will be nice for couples on the day of their wedding,” Havlat said.
Father Major wanted to acknowledge the people of the parish for their help in getting the space completed.
He said, “Rich people don’t build things, generous people do; and the people of Crete are amazing in that way. It’s a sign of their faith.”