St. Teresa of Kolkata breaks ground on permanent church
In Maynardville, Tenn., you'd be forgiven if you didn't notice the present home of St. Teresa of Kolkata Catholic Church.
The church is located in a storefront. To the right is a self-storage facility. To the left is a hair salon. In the center of the long, brown building is a now outdated sign proclaiming it the home of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Church. When the parish was founded, Mother Teresa's canonization was still a few years away.
While the optics may not be ideal, St. Teresa of Kolkata has thrived since Glenmary founded the parish in 2011.
On Sept. 2, Diocese of Knoxville Bishop Richard Stika joined members of the St. Teresa community just a few miles up the road from the storefront church for the official ground breaking of the parish's new home. The new facility will be a dedicated church building with significantly more space.
"Soon the storefront will be a part of history," Bishop Stika said. "And this beautiful church will give glory to God."
Bishop Stika was joined by Glenmary Father Steve Pawelk, pastor of St. Teresa, and Union County Mayor Micheal Williams for the ceremonial ground breaking. Glenmary first vice president Father Neil Pezzulo and Deacon Larry Rossini also had turns with the shovels.
"I'm so grateful to the Glenmary community and to Father Steve and to all of you," Bishop Stika added. "This dream is now becoming a reality."
The last time Glenmary guided a community from having no permanent structure to construction of a new church was in Danville, Ark., in 2005.
Following the ground breaking, the parish festival went on despite light rain.
St. Teresa of Kolkata mission includes English- and Spanish-speaking communities. They mingled together and enjoyed tacos, burgers, tostadas and hot dogs. An auction raised additional money for the building fund and a bagpiper was on hand to greet Bishop Stika and later to entertain children with Irish-sounding renditions of "Rocky Top."
On Sept. 5, three days after the ground breaking, the universal church remembered Mother Teresa on her first feast day since her canonization last year.