Christ Our Light breaks ground on new church building

Fourteen years ago, Christ Our Light Parish was formed through the merging of St. Edward in Princeton and St. Pius X in Zimmerman. Since then, the parish has been working toward bringing the two communities fully together under a new roof.

On May 12, parishioners celebrated the 14th anniversary by taking another step in that direction — breaking ground on a new church building. They gathered for a short ceremony on the new property — located exactly halfway between the original buildings — after the 10:30 a.m. Mass.

“This is really our home church,” said parishioner Raunn Finley. “And now the fact that we’re here when they’re building the new structure, it further cements the idea of, ‘Hey, this is ours,’ and that feels really special.”

Raunn and his wife, Katie, have been parishioners for six years and have been intentional about being a part of the Christ Our Light Community, he said.

“When we first got here, they had two churches and we would switch every other week, and it was nice, but it felt kind of broken-up,” he said. “So, when we [went] to just being one church, that felt really awesome. And now, knowing that they’re building this, it’s just a continuation of that feeling of coming together as one community.”

Back in 2016, the decision was made to create a new church campus to fully join both parishes into one. A capital campaign raised $1.5 million, making it possible in 2019 to purchase the land at 11604 293rd Ave. in Princeton, said David Badger, director of parish operations.

Everything was put on hold during the pandemic. But as things returned to normal in 2021, Miller Dunwiddie Architects were consulted to update the plans for phase one of the project, which includes a combined worship space and social hall with a dedicated 24/7 chapel, as well as new office space, classrooms and a kitchen. Then Breitbach Construction Co. was hired to begin planning construction.

“I am inspired by the energy and excitement of our parishioners,” said Father Kevin Anderson, pastor of Christ Our Light. “We have many good folks who continue to stay committed to their faith and to the future growth of Catholicism in our area.”

Badger said the current capital campaign has secured the $1.1 million required to move forward and the corporate board has approved, making the groundbreaking possible. The Diocesan Building Commission and Diocesan Finance Council also approved the project. “I hope that we can be an inspiration to other communities as to what is possible when they trust the leadership of the Diocese and depend on the Holy Spirit to guide them,” Father Anderson said.

“The setting was fabulous [for the groundbreaking], the community of parishioners there, young and old, the contractors and elected officials that were there to be a part of this memorable moment, and being one with them in the turning of the ground that will be our place of worship,” Badger said. “I continue to be inspired by this dedicated community.”

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Author: Dianne Towalski

Dianne Towalski is a multimedia reporter for The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine.

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