MOUNT WASHINGTON, Ky. — A parish project seven years in the making was officially unveiled and blessed Memorial Day weekend.
St. Francis Xavier Church in Mount Washington held a blessing and dedication ceremony for its Xavier Center May 29. The center is an 11,000 square foot multipurpose building that holds an industrial kitchen, meeting rooms and a gymnasium striped for multiple sports, according to Mitchell Elder.
Elder, who served as the chairman of the project’s steering committee, said he thinks most everyone is very proud of the new facility.
“We’re really excited,” he said in a recent phone interview. “It’s going to add a lot of functions for our parish.”
Parishioners raised $1.4 million in capital campaign pledges and the church is still seeing new donors and additional donations toward the effort.
“We are a very giving parish,” Elder said. “We are so fortunate and blessed… We’re a growing parish and the Xavier center has brought a lot of excitement.”
In addition to the blessing, the parish surprised pastor Dale Cieslik by dedicating the new center to him.
Elder has been a St. Francis Xavier parishioner since 1984 and said he’s seen different priests come and go.
“Father Dale, to me, has been the one who’s taken the bull by the horns,” Elder said. “Father Dale is so hands-on… He has maybe missed four meetings in seven years. He wants to be involved, he wants to know.”
The decision to dedicate the Xavier Center to Father Cieslik was because of his passion, Elder said. “He’s just really committed and so engaged. We just felt it was proper, well deserved.”