New Catholic church coming to Clovis

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- The valley's newest Catholic church will serve a rapidly growing region, and parishioners in Clovis can't wait to make the move.

Divine Mercy Catholic Church members gathered at their future home at Ashlan and Thompson Friday for a ground-breaking ceremony.

Bishop Armando Ochoa told them, "My prayer will be that all of your ministries will continue to flourish."

For the past two years, mass has been celebrated at a Clovis East High multi-purpose room.

Father Craig Plunkett of Divine Mercy said, "If we can get into construction by spring of '19 that's our goal."

New home construction continued to expand in Clovis, so the church is trying to keep pace with the population.

Father Craig added, "The people just keep coming. To see this actual building go up, the faith the people have had, the dedication and the desire to follow Bishop John Steinbock's vision of having another Catholic church in Clovis."

Bishop Ochoa blessed the soon to be sacred site. Divine Mercy will be a Santa Barbara mission style church.

Architect Anthony Grumbine said, "Instantly from far away, believers and non-believers alike will have the symbol of Catholicism that has been tied to the last four centuries."

Bishop Ochoa explained Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church couldn't sustain the Clovis community. 1.2 million Catholics in eight counties make up the Fresno diocese, a region where the church has enjoyed growth. "The southwest and in the south, yes and I think many times, it is once again through our immigrant communities."

Ochoa believed this was the perfect time to reach out to millennials and especially young parents. He said, "Whether or not they temporarily left the practice of their Catholicism, sooner rather than later, that first child and that second child comes to be baptized, and that's their moment of re-entry to the Catholic Church."

The $10 million church is expected to be ready by the summer of 2020.
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