Shovels are in the ground during the dedication ceremony for the Parish Life Center addition at St. Pius X Church. (Franchesca Caputo photo)
Shovels are in the ground during the dedication ceremony for the Parish Life Center addition at St. Pius X Church. (Franchesca Caputo photo)
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Shovels went into the ground on Oct. 5 as parishioners and benefactors celebrated the groundbreaking of a new Parish Life Center addition at St. Pius X Church in Loudonville. 


The dedication of the new parish center comes at a time when connection is needed more than ever, and the space will be used as a gathering area to hold meetings for both parishioners and volunteers. Although church attendance has been down in recent months due to the pandemic, more than 100 families have been added to St. Pius this year. 


“When you’re new in a big place like this, it’s very easy to get lost, so we have to put a lot of effort in this connection,” said Father James Walsh, pastor at St. Pius. 


The sense of community will be fostered with the addition to the parish center, a rearranging of the church’s current space and additional parking spaces.


“You’re going to see the fruits of this project for years to come,” Kevin Bette of First Columbia said. “We’re going to celebrate marriages, baptisms; we’re going to grieve the deceased, we’re going to train young people, we’re going to give adults places to volunteer.”


The $5-million dollar expansion was done largely through donations, in just over a year's time, and Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger was on site for the blessing. 


“Particularly in times like this, with all of the challenges of COVID, there’s a temptation at times to lock down spiritually. Even though we have to practice social distancing in a physical way, it doesn't mean we have to do that in a spiritual way,” Bishop Scharfenberger said. 


Construction, which was delayed by COVID, is expected to take about a year.

“I want you to know this water is not only to water the seeds of hope that are planted today, but to give each and every one of you a sense that God is so close to us,” said Bishop Scharfenberger during the blessing. “It’s all about relationships - when we stick together, when we make those connections, God is present in our midst.”