St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish moves forward on permanent home plans

North Texas Catholic
(Jun 11, 2024) Local

Deacon Zavala shows slide of new parish hall

Deacon Daniel Zavala reveals an architectural rendering of the new church for the St. Teresa of Calcutta parish in Roanoke, on Sunday, June 2, 2024. (NTC/Ben Torres)


ROANOKE — St. Teresa of Calcutta parishioners attend Mass among the hardwood floors, basketball goals, and team spirit banners of Roanoke's Hughes Elementary School gymnasium for now, but that is about to change.

Excitement buzzed following June 2's Sunday Mass with most parishioners for the “Big Reveal” of Phase 1 plans for St. Teresa's soon-to-be new home. Deacon Daniel Zavala and others provided specifics accompanied by renderings of the parish buildings and campus to be built near TX-170.

The Diocese of Fort Worth's 92nd and newest parish, St. Teresa celebrated its first Mass on Sept. 4, 2022, in a portable building where the new parish will soon sit. New parishioners soon overwhelmed that building's 100-seat capacity, necessitating relocation first to a nearby middle school and subsequently Hughes Elementary.

“Hughes has worked out well for the time being because they allow us to use the space for our Saturday Mass and keep the things we need here overnight for the Sunday Mass,” Dcn. Zavala said.

Growth, both within the parish and surrounding area, has greatly benefitted the new parish.

“We're hoping and expecting to see our numbers grow once we get into our new building,” Dcn. Zavala said. “But we've already seen growth and a lot of new members in the nearly two years we've been around. There's a lot of new homebuilding around here, so people who already lived here are finding us as well as people moving to North Texas from other areas.”

Parking lot construction at the permanent site is underway with work on a parish hall building scheduled to begin soon.

“We're hoping to get construction on the parish hall going in 30 to 40 days,” Dcn. Zavala said. “We have to pay that off before we can move to the next level of the church building. For now, the parish hall will seat 1,000 with plans to seat 2,500 in the eventual church.”

That the reveal occurred on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ is only fitting, Dcn. Zavala said.

“It hit me that on a day we're talking about the body and blood of Christ and Christ's real presence in the Eucharist that [Bishop Michael Olson] asked us to build a community around Christ and the Eucharist, which has always been our mission,” Dcn. Zavala said.

Parish Advancement Committee member Shelby Cobb admitted that church in a gym was not to her initial liking.

Young girl passes collection basket
Allyson Gruben, 7, participates in the church collection during a Sunday Mass at Hughes Elementary School near St. Teresa of Calcutta in Roanoke, on Sunday, June 2, 2024. After Mass Deacon Zavala revealed the latest plans for a new church for parishioners of St. Teresa of Calcutta. (NTC/Ben Torres)

“As Catholics, we're told we go to church for the Mass, but we are the Church,” Cobb said. “That's easier said than done when you're used to the comforts of big, beautiful churches and sacred, reverent places. It wasn't until I came here a few times that I realized the building isn't what makes that — it's us.”

Administrative Assistant Mike Waldon spoke of the challenges and excitement of building a parish from the ground up and of the parish's steady growth from Day 1.

Excitement Financial Chairman Bill Tennant shares.

“We've just blossomed from the beginning,” Tennant said. “We already have a lot of ministries and a great community growing. We have a really nice balance of older and younger. I like that because we're bringing experience as older Catholics in how we support the enthusiasm of these younger families who are going to be the ones to foster our growth and ministries.”

Welcome Committee member Jennifer Wood said she and her husband began attending St. Teresa about a year ago.

“From our first visit, it was clear it was all about the people, the friendliness, the music,” Wood said. “And that's what we as a welcoming committee want to exude, that love of Christ and invitation to come here and check us out.”

It's heartening, Wood added, to witness the creation of a new parish.

“That's what I like most,” Wood said. “I've seen churches close. So to see one built from the ground up, that is very exciting.”

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