By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer
BUCKINGHAM – Nine years after the founding of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in bucolic Bucks County, ground was broken for a 1,200-seat church on a 30-acre site at the intersection of Route 413 and Cold Spring Creamery Road on what was once a field of soybeans and corn.
Cardinal Justin Rigali presided at the 7 p.m. groundbreaking and blessing under a brilliant blue sky just as the sun was setting Tuesday, May 12.
“All your patience, all your work, all your faith and all your hope has a great reward,” he told Father Joseph J. Quindlen, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and approximately 400 of the 6,000-plus parishioners.
Msgr. James D. Beisel, the regional vicar for Bucks County, joined the Cardinal and Father Quindlen in breaking ground.
Construction is expected to begin by mid-June.
Nine-year-old Bridget Lee, who is the same age as her parish, was giddy. “I thought it was cool when the priests and the Cardinal dug up little parts of the ground,” she said.
After the official ceremony was over, she joined a group of youngsters who playfully continued the work by digging their own sections of soil.
“I can’t believe it – after nine years, it’s finally happening,” said 79-year-old Kay Donaway, who attended the ceremony with her husband Herb, 80. “I really thought it wouldn’t be done until I was buried.”
Sam Losorelli, 54, and his wife, Lynn, 52, rode their bicycles to the groundbreaking. From their home, it was a mere 1.5 miles.
“I cut my golf game short to make it,” said 21-year-old Ed Goodwin, who played nine holes of golf up until 6:50 p.m.
Goodwin, a student at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., was happy that the timing of the event – five days before his May 17 graduation – allowed him to be there.
“I served the founding Mass as an altar server,” Goodwin said. The day of the groundbreaking, his little sister, Olivia, had the honor of being a server.
Also in attendance was 8-year-old Sinead McArdle, who is affectionately known as the “First Lady” of the parish because she was the first girl baptized at Guadalupe in 2000.
Weekend Masses are currently celebrated in the auditorium of Central Bucks East High School in Buckingham.
“Bless all those who have worked or contributed to provide this site on which the church will be built,” the Cardinal said in his closing prayer. “Today, may they rejoice in a work begun.”
On behalf of the parish, Father Quindlen acknowledged Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego for their continual guidance and intercession.
At 30,800 square feet, the church is anticipated to cost approximately $10 million, according to the pastor. The parish has pledged $6.6 million toward a $7 million goal. To date, it has raised more than $5 million.
This was the third site proposed for the church in the parish’s nine-year history.
The first site, at Routes 202/263 and Quarry Road, was later deemed not suitable for building because of the prevalence of limestone on the property.
The second site, at Mechanicsville and Ash Mill Roads, was deemed not suitable for institutional development.
On April 22, the parish received long-awaited approval from Buckingham Township’s board of supervisors to build the structure.
“This is where the Blessed Mother wanted it from the beginning,” said Father Robert B. McDermott, who served as parochial vicar of Our Lady of Guadalupe from 2000 to 2006 and is now the dean of men in the college spanision of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood. “We just had to wait until she showed us.”
For more information, contact the parish at (215) 794-2004 or visit the web site www.olguadalupe.org.
Cardinal Rigali has appointed Father Quindlen pastor of Epiphany of Our Lord Parish in Plymouth Meeting, effective June 15. Father Joseph P. Gentili will succeed him as pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. A complete listing of clerical changes begins on page 12
CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at (215) 587-2468 or firstname.lastname@example.org.