Parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua parish will kick off a pledge drive in mid-April to raise money for the construction of their first church building.
The parish was created seven years ago to serve Roman Catholics living in the Centennial Hills area. The Rev. Bob Puhlman, St. Anthony’s pastor, said about $2.9 million still must be raised before ground can be broken on the first phase of the project.
Currently, St. Anthony’s weekend Masses are celebrated at Centennial High School, 10200 W. Centennial Parkway, while the parish rents office and chapel space at 4275 N. Rancho Drive, Suite 120.
The new church would be built on 10 acres of land at North Fort Apache Road and West Centennial Parkway. The project’s first phase calls for construction of a 27,000-square-foot utility/worship space that would include chapel and sanctuary space, meeting rooms for religious instruction, offices and a full-sized kitchen.
That first phase is estimated to cost about $8 million.
Once financing is in place, construction would take an estimated nine to 12 months to complete, Puhlman said.
Then, in later stages of the project, the parish’s church building itself would be built and the original building would revert to use as the church hall.
St. Anthony of Padua began with about 300 families and now has about 1,900 registered families, said Puhlman, who comes to St. Anthony from La Virgen de Guadalupe parish in Mesquite.
In addition, Puhlman said, about 400 students in first through 10th grades receive religious instruction at St. Anthony’s each week.
Puhlman said that even children at the parish have been getting into the spirt of the fundraising effort. Just after Christmas, when Puhlman put out his hand to high-five a boy in greeting, “instead of slapping my hand, he slapped a five-dollar bill,” Puhlman said.
“I said, ‘This is yours. You keep it.’ He said, ‘No, Father, I want you to put it in the building fund.’ ”
So, Puhlman said, “we coined it the ‘Gimme Five Pledge’ and every week kids come up and slap my hand with five dollars. In a matter of a month, we collected almost $1,000 just from the kids. They get so excited.”
In fact, Puhlman said, “we’re going to try to keep track, so when we do get our building up, I can put a plaque in the vestibule (saying), ‘Here’s what the kids have given.’ ”
For more information about St. Anthony of Padua Catholic parish, call the church office at 399-6897 or visit its website (www.lasvegas-diocese.org/parishes_st_anthony_padua.html).