Reverend Timothy W. Gareau, Pastor, will preside. “What a truly amazing and exciting time for our Parish and our history,” said Fr. Gareau. “We move forward in hope, enthusiasm, and humility in what God can accomplish through us!”
Construction of the church is Phase II of the parish’s Master Plan. Beginning June 9, pews and fixtures will begin to be removed in preparation for the demolition of the existing church building. The new church will be fan-shaped with a capacity of 1,100 and will front on Dover Center Road. The ceremonial entrance will be along the north side of the building.
Stained glass windows from the existing church will be refurbished and installed in the new church. These windows, from the former St Joseph Franciscan Church (located at E. 23rd and Woodland in Cleveland), were originally dedicated in 1873. Crafted in Munich, Germany, and installed in 1902, the stained glass windows were removed by the Diocese when St Joseph was closed in the late 1980’s and they were restored and installed at St Raphael Church in the early 1990’s. The crucifix, tabernacle and all of the existing marble will be incorporated into the new church. Along with the new church, a chapel and a community room that will be able to accommodate functions for up to 200 people will be built.
The architect is Zarzycki-Malik. Zarzycki-Malik was instrumental in helping St Raphael Parish develop its Master Plan and also designed Phase I. The first phase, completed in 2008, included construction of the Parish Activity Center, referred to as the PAC, connecting corridors to the school, an expanded parking lot, a new rectory and purchase of the building adjacent to the parish property for the Parish Office. From Bob Zarzycki: “The past eight and one half years has been an incredible journey and we feel so privileged to have been chosen to serve the St Raphael Parish Community as Architect. We have been so blessed with the opportunity to be the ‘pencil in your hand’ as we prayerfully discerned its needs and aspirations and served to organize and put its thoughts to paper. The design, even to the smallest of details, is truly a reflection of the St. Raphael Community dream, an inspired creation soon to become reality.”
The general contractor is John G. Johnson Construction Company. JGJ is a family owned and operated business since 1943. Throughout the years JGJ has completed several church projects including St John Vianney in Mentor and Holy Angels in Chagrin Falls. Most recently JGJ was the General Contractor for the Apartments at St. Richard in North Olmsted. Anthony Valencic, Preconstruction/Project Manager from JGJ states, “With all of the projects we’ve been a part of over the years, it’s hard to remember a group or organization that has been this well prepared. From top to bottom the entire process has been carefully planned and thought out. The Parishioners of St. Raphael’s have so much to look forward to with their new church.” John G Johnson Construction Company and Zarzycki-Malik have worked together on numerous projects for the Diocese of Cleveland over the years.
St Raphael Parish has grown to over 3,500 families. Over 80 ministries are available to meet the needs of the parish community and those in need. The school is a Blue-Ribbon School with an enrollment of 780 students. Another 650 students participate in the Parish School of Religion.
Father Tim Gareau states: “We will be more effective and efficient meeting the needs of our parish community. We will continue to grow in faith, love and service. Our foundation, our Church, will bring us together to help foster and nurture our love for Jesus so we can be His message of love bringing hope to our community and beyond.”
Construction will take 12-14 months. During this time, Masses will be held in the PAC. The dedication of the new church will be held on August 22, 2015, with The Most Reverend Richard G. Lennon, Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland, consecrating the church.