Parishoners view church through virtual reality

At a celebration dinner at the Carson Nugget, more than 450 parishioners of St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community and special guests will "view" their new church facility through virtual reality video.

"They will get into a helicopter, fly to the new church site, get out of the helicopter and actually walk down the aisle of the church to the altar area," said Rev. Jerry Hanley.

"There is a lot of excitement about this. The whole project of the new church has been in the works for five years. So this kickoff dinner, the celebration, is like the end of five years, but the beginning of a whole new future for us."

The dinner is not a fund-raiser but the opportunity for the parishioners to meet all parties involved in the planning of the new facility. Contractors, architects, landscapers, planners, developers, engineers, you name it. Special guests include the Bishop Phillip R. Straling of the Reno Diocese and former-Gov. Michael O'Callaghan.

"We've had more than 30 committees involved in all phases of the new church," said Mary Ann Randall, a member of the steering committee.

"Not one person can think of everything. We've had committees doing research with state offices finding out things like the level of the ramps for the handicap access to the nap of the carpeting to make it easier for the wheelchairs to be rolled on. Things that we would have never thought of.

"There have been hundreds of people involved in the development, all to make the building more welcome."

The celebration will also provide the opportunity for the unveiling of new color plans of the church, from colorful stained glasswork behind the altar to a fellowship hall that seats 450 for special events.

"What we will do then, is visit everyone in the parish, because we're all family," said Hanley.

"We will ask them how we can improve our parish, what needs do they have, how we can better meet those needs, and how they can contribute to the parish. It is a way of investing in their own future.

"There are 2,000 families in the parish. We plan to visit them all before Thanksgiving. We do have a committee for the fund raising aspect - but we are leaving most of that in God's hands. We feel if this is to be done, he will see to it.

"When we're done meeting with everyone, we will then look at our (building fund) account, see what we need, money-wise, then hopefully break ground in April or May 2000, and hold our first service about a year from then."

To do everything they want with the new church, $5,200,000 will need to be raised. All areas of the new facility are designed to be expanded upon, if needed. The property will have more than 300 parking stalls to accommodate the 1,000-seat church.

"We are building for Carson City's future population from censuses that show Carson City's possible population of 76,000. Nobody wants to give up this (existing) church. It's history. It's a big part of all our lives. But we have to look forward to our future, and this is our future."

Hanley would like to see the school eventually move to the new area on Lompa Lane also (which they are in the process of obtaining land for), but planning is 10 years down the road. He also stated they will keep the original facility of St. Teresa's church and hopes to keep it in use for various functions.

"It is an old building, more than 120 years old. It has to be used. Maybe there is a smaller congregation that is beginning to outgrow their facilities. Maybe they can use it. But it will not be sold."

Readers can see the church's web site at, or e-mail them at


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