A new Catholic Church goes up in Visalia

VISALIA, Calif.

Workers and church members are preparing to open /*Saint Charles Borromeo*/ at Akers and Caldwell, which will serve more than ten-thousand South Valley families

With the opening of Saint Charles Borromeo /*Catholic Church*/ -- there is now a church on all four corners of this intersection. Some people even call it "amen corner."

But this new Catholic Church -- funded entirely by donations -- is bringing new life to the growing South Valley Catholic community.

Carefully, several men helped wheel in the new organ for the Church. Visalia's newest Catholic Church was just recently completed and mark's the fourth location for the Catholic Church of Visalia parish.

Msgr. Ray Dreiling said, "Through a lot of planning and shifting of ideas and shifting of projects and stuff like that, we finally see it come to reality."

Nearly four years after it broke ground, church leaders are thrilled to open a new 17 thousand square foot facility, which is the first of four buildings on this 20-acre property.

The facility will eventually be a parish hall but for the next few years up to 700 members will attend mass in the building.

The actual church, or phase two of the project, will hold 18 hundred people. Monsignor Ray Dreiling says the Catholic Church of Visalia has grown 10 percent in the last five years and now serves 10 thousand families.

"The plan is to continue to serve the community with the number of priests we have now," said Dreiling. "We have four full time priests already and one half time."

Wednesday, workers moved in new chairs and tables. Everything in this parish is new -- from the bible, still in its plastic covering, to the priests' and deacons' wardrobes, and the candle-holders.

"It's wonderful to unbox everything," said Patty Call. "It's like Christmas all over. Just seeing all the wonderful new appointments, the alters, everything just sparkles shiny clean."

All of it -- from the $4.5 million building to the items inside were paid for by donations from parishioners. The mahogany alter and ambo -- were hand-crafted by a church member.

Thursday, the church's new six foot cross will arrive. A special prayer service will be held to officially open the church on August 19th.

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