Organizers expect as many as 750 people at a ceremonial groundbreaking planned this morning for the new location of St. Mark Catholic Church in far southwest Denton.
Parishioner Bret Curran, who is helping organize the event, said that Monsignor Stephen Berg and members of sister parish Assumption Catholic Church from West will be among the special guests at the event.
Berg, current administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth until a replacement for retired bishop Kevin Vann is named, together with the Rev. George Pullambrayil, the pastor of St. Mark, will preside over the event that includes song and Scripture readings.
Festivities begin at 9 a.m. today at the corner of Crawford and John Paine roads and are expected to finish at 10 a.m., when 12 people line up with shovels to break ground.
After that, children may help themselves to a shovel and move a little dirt, too.
“They should bring a container if they want to bring home a little,” Curran said.
The faithful are also invited to bring a container of water, which Berg and Pullambrayil will bless. Organizers hope people will help cast a bit of holy water over the grounds and then take the rest home, Curran said.
They also plan to have people line up to spell out “St. Mark” and take a photo of the crowd, since a parishioner has offered to fly over and take an aerial photo of the event, Curran said.
The Denton-based parish began in the mid-1990s after Immaculate Conception Catholic Church built an outreach center on 10 acres along Teasley Lane. The parish had been in talks about expanding at the current location, Curran said.
However, as it became clear that there wasn’t enough room to expand, the parish began looking for other places to build and settled on 30 acres near the Country Lakes subdivision between Robson Ranch and the town of Argyle. The parish has sold the land along Teasley to DATCU.
The first phase will build two of the four buildings planned at the new location, which include a parish hall, religious education center and rectory along with a sanctuary.
The new facility is expected to accommodate 1,000 people. Although still located within Denton, the parish is closer to the fast-growing cities of Keller, Northlake and Argyle. Curran said he expected the parish to grow quickly.
For more information, visit the parish website at www.stmarkdenton.org .
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.