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Published: Wednesday, 11/8/2006

St. Joseph works on expansion plan


A new church, which "looks like a church," is connected to a parish community center, which is connected to a gymnasium, which is connected to a school building.

It's the St. Joseph Catholic Church's way of being one big, happy family.

The Catholic Diocese of Toledo recently purchased 57 acres of land on Stitt Road in Monclova Township from Stitt Road Investors, LLC for $890,283. Approximately 36 acres is designated for a new parish campus for St. Joe's.

The Maumee-based parish has preliminary plans for what it wants to do with its plot, based on numerous meetings and discussions held between St. Joseph's staff and parishioners.

While precise details are still being ironed out, the parish and its members are looking to have the new infrastructure connected through hallways and provide modern and comfortable means of worship, education, and gathering.

"A lot of this is our parish community's dream," St. Joseph's pastor, the Rev. Frank Murd said. "And it just so happens a lot of their dream is also my dream.

"Now, if I did what all of our parishioners dreamed, we'd be spending $50 million to build this, and we're not going to do that," he said.

Father Murd didn't have an estimate on what his parish's collective dream would cost. He is waiting to hear from a national Catholic fund-raising organization (called Guidance in Giving, Inc.) to determine how much St. Joseph's will need to raise for this project.

The priest said he hopes to launch a capital campaign in January and added that the most feasible date to begin construction on the project will be sometime in 2008.

Once ground is broken, the parish will expect its new church building to have the same feel of traditional Catholic churches, Father Murd said.

"Our parishioners were loud and clear that they wanted the church to look like a church," Father Murd said. "When you drive around our diocese, you see some churches that were meant to be used a gym or something. Ours is going to be built to be a church, used as a church, and look like a church."

The community center will include parish offices, meeting rooms, and possibly space for banquets.

The school, which will house students from preschool through eighth grade, will include state-of-the-art science labs and other technology, and will be built with the possibility of further additions in mind.

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