St. John Neumann announces plans to build a new church

COLUMBIA—Members of St. John Neumann are beginning an exciting journey to build a new church.

Father C. Alexander “Sandy” McDonald, pastor, announced the plan in late February.

He said a new church is necessary because the parish has outgrown its current building at 100 Polo Road, built in 1978. St. John Neumann currently serves about 2,000 families in the rapidly growing section of Columbia.

“The church seats 600 and its parking lot has spaces for 145 cars, and that has become inadequate for our numbers,” Father McDonald said.

Because the current property is not big enough for expansion, Father McDonald said the new church will be on property the parish owns behind St. John Neumann School, which is less than a mile away on Miles Road, off Polo Road.

The initial plans call for a church that can seat a minimum of 1,000 people and a parking lot with spaces for more than 300 cars. Father McDonald said the new facility will also include a parish hall, offices, and meeting spaces.

“We see this process as an opportunity to animate our community’s faith life, and what we build should reflect who we are as a local embodiment of the Church,” Father McDonald said. “We want this entire effort to be an exercise in good stewardship of resources and the environment, and finally we want to build an edifice that can serve the parish and the Church for generations to come.”

The people of St. John Neumann will have their say before fundraising and the process of picking an architect begins.

Ken Griesemer, a liturgical design consultant, will lead the parish in a series of meetings beginning March 13 to determine the design and concept for the new church. During the first three meetings, parishioners will learn about the liturgy and what design requirements are needed. During six more meetings in April and May, Griesemer will hear from parishioners about their vision of what the building should look like and the specific needs of the parish.

Griesemer said input from those meetings will be used by the architect who will eventually design the new worship space.

Miscellany File Photo: St. John Neumann’s current church, shown here, seats 600 people but serves about 2,000 families.