Parish begins new chapter - Catholic Courier

Parish begins new chapter

With delays finally in the past, All Saints Parish in Lansing is starting construction on its long-anticipated new church.

On May 25, Bishop Matthew H. Clark gave the final go-ahead to parish officials, who then signed a contract with the project’s construction firm, McPherson Builders of Ithaca. A ground-breaking ceremony took place after All Saints’ 10 a.m. Mass on June 4.

Father Scott Kubinski, pastor, said news of the finalized agreement was greeted with applause by Mass attendees in late May.

“Of course, they’re very pleased that we’ve finally gotten to this point. It’s been a long wait,” he said.

The new church will be built on All Saints’ parish property on Route 34B and is expected to be completed during a period of about eight months. It will double the 200-person seating capacity of the current All Saints Church, where overcrowding has been a chronic concern in recent years. On many Sundays, “you’ve got 50 to 60 people more than the building should even be holding,” said Dave Lippert, parish administrative assistant.

“We were turning people away. That’s just not real acceptable,” Father Kubinski added.

Schickel Architecture of Ithaca is serving as designer. Along with the church, the building project will include additional classroom and gathering space; expansion of the parish center; and conversion of All Saints’ current church into a chapel and classroom/office facility. Father Kubinski said faith formation is a key element in All Saints’ growth, with a current enrollment of more than 125 youths.

Much of the project’s cost has already been raised, thanks to a spring 2004 capital campaign that generated more than $900,000 in just a few months — well in excess of the $600,000 goal. However, Father Kubinski and Lippert said an additional capital campaign will be required because the estimated cost has risen from the original figure of $800,000 to slightly more than $1.2 million, with another $200,000 required for furnishings.

The plan at the end of the 2004 capital campaign had been for construction to begin by the end of that year and conclude by the summer of 2005. Father Kubinski said the timetable was forced back because “with the diocesan standards, requirements were more than we realized. We found we hadn’t done all the homework we were supposed to do.”

“The lag time has been kind of frustrating to deal with, but we’ve been very fortunate in that people have been patient with us and pretty understanding,” said Lippert, who oversees many of All Saints’ day-to-day operations.

Father Kubinski credited Father Daniel Condon, diocesan chancellor, as “very helpful in order to help push things through” in recent months regarding legal matters.

All Saints is situated in an area of northern Tompkins County that is steadily growing in population, including many young families.

“It’s become a bedroom community of Ithaca, but there are also people who travel as far as Corning, Norwich and Syracuse to work,” Lippert noted.

As evidence of that boom, he said there are currently more than 250 families registered at All Saints, compared to fewer than 220 in early 2005.

Father Kubinski said All Saints also thrives because of the parish’s friendly atmosphere, as evidenced by the well-attended coffee hours following Sunday Mass.

“It’s a very welcoming community, very participatory. This is just the spirit they’ve had. They were a mission church all these years and had to fight for what they had,” he said.

Father Kubinski and Lippert acknowledged that some people may wonder why a new church is being built while a priest shortage is forcing other parishes to reconfigure and, in some cases, close their doors. Yet Father Kubinski pointed out that plans for a new All Saints Church had been in the works for a number of years.

“We’re kind of an anomaly — we’re growing when others are shrinking,” Lippert said.

Masses were first held in Lansing in 1910. The first church was erected in 1913, and the current All Saints Church opened in 1933. The building of a new parish center in 1995 reflected the parish’s growth from its original “mission” status.

Last year All Saints became clustered with Holy Cross in Dryden and St. Anthony in Groton. Father Kubinski — who has served in various capacities at All Saints since 2000 — was appointed pastor of all three churches.

The clustering saw All Saints initially drop its number of weekend Masses from two to one. But cramped conditions led to a second Mass being reinstated from winter through May, when faith-formation classes ended and congregations tapered off slightly for the summer. Father Kubinski and Lippert credited Father Peter Anglaaere, an extern priest who serves in Tompkins County, for willingly covering many of All Saints’ recent liturgies.

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