A visible symbol: construction commences on the new parish hall for Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish in Cisco

North Texas Catholic
(Dec 6, 2022) Local

groundbreaking with shovels

(L-R) Tom Ross, senior construction program manager for the Diocese of Fort Worth, Father Jonathan Wallis, vicar general, Father Vijay Mareedu, SAC, Father Jesuraj, SAC, and parishioner Jim Horton, break ground at the site of the future parish hall on Nov. 19, 2022. (NTC/Juan Guajardo)

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CISCO — Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish in Cisco broke ground on a new parish hall November 19 after a Mass celebrated by Father Jonathan Wallis, vicar general for the Diocese of Fort Worth. Father Vijaya Raju Mareedu, SAC, pastor of the parish, and Father Jesuraj, SAC, parochial vicar of St. Michael Parish in Bedford, concelebrated the Mass.

In his homily, Fr. Wallis called the hall “a visible symbol, as it were, of the community, of this parish church, the parish of Holy Rosary. And it can be an outward symbol as well for the community, for the life of the community, for the life of faith.”

The celebration was a homecoming of sorts for Fr. Wallis, who served the Cisco parish and three other parishes in the Eastland/Palo Pinto County cluster about 12 years ago. He mentioned parishioners expressed the desire for a new parish hall even then.

Fr. Mareedu, who has served the Eastland and Palo Pinto County parishes since 2018, described the parish hall as the “dream of Cisco” for years. Land adjacent to the church, which dates to 1921, was purchased in 2014 for the purpose of a future parish hall.

Father Jonathan Wallis celebrates the Nov. 19, 2022 Mass at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Cisco. After the Mass, the parish community celebrated the groundbreaking for their new parish hall. (NTC/Juan Guajardo)

When complete, the new parish hall will accommodate about 200 people comfortably in its 4,420 square feet, and a large kitchen will facilitate the parish’s monthly community friendship dinners and the parish’s fellowship breakfast, which is held after Mass on the first Sunday of the month.

The parish hall, according to Fr. Wallis, “becomes a place of real extension, [from] the altar and table of sacrifice of the Eucharist, and then [to] the other table of fellowship that takes place and can take place in that hall.”

Currently, the parish rents a meeting room at the Conrad Hilton Center downtown to host large events.

For smaller gatherings, the parish presently uses a repurposed rectory, built in 1927, as its parish hall. The building “fits about 80, elbow to elbow, with some standing outside,” said Jim Horton, who has been a parishioner for more than 25 years. He sits on the parish building committee with Josie Flores, Ann Geasland, and Pauline Scheuren.

Although the process of planning and fundraising for the new hall has taken years, construction will be relatively quick. Fr. Mareedu estimated that the exterior will take just two months, with an additional four months for interior and finishing work.

Horton explained the manufacturer, Morton Buildings, designs, manufactures, and assembles the structure, which increases efficiency and minimizes waste.

Contractors will complete the electrical, plumbing, landscaping, and other final elements.

Several parishioners showed their enthusiasm for the project by turning out to watch the materials, ready to assemble, arrive at the site in late November.

The groundbreaking, which was years in the planning but just minutes in its implementation, is a moment to reflect. Fr. Wallis said, “As we bless the ground, we can think about the foundation. What’s the foundation of our faith? Jesus Christ Himself, God incarnate, God who came to us to show us Himself, to show us His face, to establish a church.”

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