St. Andrew dedicates community life center

MYRTLE BEACH — Members of St. Andrew Parish celebrated the completion of their new community life center Nov. 20 with a blessing and dedication of the new building.

More than 400 people attended a Mass concelebrated by Bishop Robert J. Baker and Msgr. Chet Moczydlowski, pastor of St. Andrew. Parishioners and guests attended a luncheon afterward in the center’s gymnasium.

Bishop Baker praised the design of the new center, which also features meeting rooms and a commercial-grade kitchen, and said it could serve as a model for similar facilities around the diocese.

During his homily, the bishop commented on the approaching feast of Christ the King, and on how important it is to bring the “presence of Christ” to people during the course of everyday life.

“That is why the church is so important … why your parish is so important … why your parish center that we will dedicate today is so important,” he said. “The church, St. Andrew’s Parish, is the incarnation of Christ in time and place. It is Christ reaching out to other people through you. People will not grasp the goodness of God unless you demonstrate that goodness.”

The community life center was designed by Steve Hepler of Pegram Architects in Myrtle Beach and built by Mashburn Construction of Columbia. The building is part of an ongoing $6 million capital campaign.

St. Andrew was founded in 1946, and over the years the parish helped start missions that later became Our Lady Star of the Sea in North Myrtle Beach and St. Michael in Garden City. St. Andrew now has a membership of 1,500 households and also serves thousands of Catholic tourists who visit during the year. St. Andrew School serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

During the dedication, special recognition was given to parishioners who  had worked on the building committee and who had donated to the building effort.

During the reception many of the speakers praised Msgr. Chet Moczydlowski for his work and dedication over the past several years. They spoke of his help in promoting growth at St. Andrew, his enthusiasm in leading the parish, and his support of parishioners who were working on committees to make the new center a reality.

Tommy Rollings, coach of the St. Andrew basketball team for 19 years, was also honored. He recalled the previous seasons when the school’s teams had to practice outside on concrete courts.

Norma and Richard Kalberer have been members of St. Andrew for 20 years, and both of their daughters attended all eight grades at the school.

“It took a long time for this center to become a reality, but we’re so pleased to see it finally come to fruition,” said Richard Kalberer. “Now our kids here at St. Andrew will have a home court when they play basketball.”

“This is long overdue — now we can really fulfill the mission of St. Andrew to the community and to our own members,” said Art Roehrl, a member for 24 years. “This is such a big parish — we have six different Masses every weekend. Now we have a special place where we can gather together and hopefully get to know each other better.”

The new center will be used for faith-sharing activities, parish meetings, meals and receptions, and sporting events.

“These days there aren’t a lot of communities that are growing like this one, and this center is part of a tremendous opportunity we have here,” said Bob Zuercher, who served on the parish building committee and was master of ceremonies for the dedication. “This parish community is unique because there’s so much diversity. We have people from all over the country and from all over the world, and this facility gives us an opportunity to do more things together as a parish.”