St. Teresa's breaks ground for new church

Reno Diocese Bishop Phillip Straling presided over the ceremonies at 2 p.m. Sunday as about 170 parishioners from St. Teresa of Avila Church gathered just off Lompa Lane for the ground breaking ceremony marking the beginning of construction for their new church.

"This is a big day for us, a new beginning," Father Jerry Hanley said.

St. Teresa's has been located at 400 West King Street almost since Carson City's inception, for about 140 years, but the size and demands of the congregation finally caught up with the historic little church.

There are no firm decisions as to how the old building will be used, but it will serve the congregation for about another 12 months, or until the new church is finished.

"The population grew, so we had to expand," parish member James Viamo said.

The church's membership stands at about 2300 families, or 6,000 members according to parish member and contractor for the new building, Jeff Shaheen.

Father Jerry Hanley said he is looking to the future.

"This is a symbolic beginning," Father Hanley explained to a small parishioner "This land will be special, holy ground."

The ceremony marks the culmination of five years of planning. The new $5.5 million, 33,000 square foot structure will house a 1,000-seat church with open beams and exposed wood. There will also be office space, a social hall and gathering area.

The steeple for this block masonry building will be 80 feet tall, making it the third tallest building in Carson City according to contractor and church member Jeff Shaheen.

"The money comes from community donations. All parishes are locally funded," Bishop Straling said with a smile. "Everyone chips in."

Father Hanley thanked the crowd for their sacrifices, talents, and support. "He (God) will long remember, and I will never forget," he said.

The land, about 10 acres on Lompa Lane, was donated by parish members Roger and Judy Shaheen, and is surrounded by marsh overseen by the Nature Conservancy.


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