On January 21, in a highly anticipated event for the community of Sacred Heart in Saratoga, Bishop Patrick J. McGrath celebrated the dedication and blessing of the completely remodeled Parish Center and the school’s new kindergarten classroom.
The event began with a celebratory Mass presided by Bishop McGrath, Father Gary Thomas, Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, and Father Robert McKay, Pastoral Vicar. The church was filled with parishioners, school families, alumni and friends. Before the final blessing, the congregation formed a procession and walked over to the kindergarten classroom that now faces the new Parish Center. Bishop McGrath blessed the new classroom and invited the help of two school students to cut the official ribbon.
After that, the more than 300 parishioners proceeded to the main entrance of the Parish Center with Bishop McGrath. Both Bishop McGrath and Father Gary spoke to the congregation and cut the ribbon to a roaring applause by all present. The excited guests toured the facility and celebrated the completion of this project that was five years in the planning and making.
The original Parish Center was built 50 years ago as the convent for the Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur, the school’s founders and faculty. In the year 2000, the Sisters changed their home residence and the building was adapted to become the Parish Office, a place for meetings and social gatherings. With the arrival of Father Gary Thomas in 2007, his leadership and vision invigorated the clubs and organizations of the parish so much so that the old Convent was no longer able to accommodate the needs of the parish. That’s when Father Gary put together a revitalization plan for the building to ensure its viability for a long time to come. Father Gary led a capital campaign to which more than 50% of the parish community contributed. The construction bid was awarded to Strawn Construction. The New Parish Building was initially slightly over 10,000 square feet, with this update a slight addition was incorporated to 12,200 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art multi-use facilities for meetings and gatherings. The interior of the building was beautifully designed and realized to enhance the entire parish and school campus.
The school’s new kindergarten classroom, originally the school’s library and later the parish Faith Formation office, now has girl’s and boy’s bathrooms, LED lighting, ample cabinetry and many other great amenities. Soon to be installed outside will be a fun play structure the kindergarteners will share with the Pre-K children. As Sacred Heart’s Principal, Thomas Pulchny explained, “The new kindergarten classroom is where I would want to put my children. It’s a perfect classroom! The Parish Center will provide us with a perfect setting for meetings and social gatherings much needed for the school and the whole parish. I’m very thankful for Father Gary’s efforts and vision, and for all the people who generously contributed to this effort, proving their support of the Parish, and of Catholic education.”