Local News Archive
Print Issue: January 7, 1999
St. John Vianney Parish Builds New Place of Worship
LITHIA SPRINGS--Members of St. John Vianney Parish will soon have their first permanent church for worship and for the sacramental life of the community.
Father Dan Fink, OFM Conv., the pastor, said that the multipurpose building constructed in 1974, which houses the church, was always too small.
"It's gotten to a point that there are chairs in the gathering area and lining the hallway down to the social hall," he said.
A $1.06 million project, the construction of a new church will allow the existing buildings to be used exclusively as gathering, classroom and office space. The architect for the project is Brent Pope of Howell Pope Architects of Dunwoody and the contractors are JHD Construction.
Though there has been a seven-week construction delay due to problems with the structure's beams, Father Fink hopes to have the church completed by late spring.
The new church is expected to seat 425 people, more than double the number of people the multipurpose building can accommodate.
Serving a parish of 1,800 people, the new church will feature a large three-dimensional Franciscan San Damiano crucifix which will hang over the altar. The altar, ambo and tabernacle pillar are being hand-crafted by parishioner Fred Leo.
"(The parishioners) are thrilled that they are actually going to be able to have a new church that will reflect their taste," Father Fink said.
The church will also feature a sloped floor.
"From the entrance way to the church to the altar, there will be a gradual decline of 16 inches, so that anywhere you sit in the church, you will be able to see the sanctuary and see everything that is going on," he said.
The new church will be completely handicapped-accessible and a new sound system will be adapted for the hearing impaired. The present kitchen and restrooms will also be renovated. The church will feature stained-glass windows in the future.
"I'm just excited that it will be permanent," Father Fink said. "The current church is very non-descript and everything in it is movable."
Father Fink hopes that the new church will encourage parishioners to make St. John Vianney a part of the important events of their lives.
"We lose a lot of weddings to other churches," he said. "A lot of brides and grooms want a church with a church feel to it. We basically have an auditorium that doubles as a church. With the new church we'll probably attract more weddings because, hopefully, it will be more aesthetically pleasing."
Father Fink said he is enjoying making his own contribution to the new church.
"It's nice to know that you have input in what you feel should go in the church," he said. "You get a lot of good will from that."
NEW BEGINNING -- Archbishop John F. Donoghue, fourth from left, surrounded by the parish staff breaks ground for the construction of a new church at St. John Vianney, Lithia Springs. The new church will allow the existing buildings to be used exclusively as gathering, classroom and office space.