ELBURN – A new church for St. Gall Catholic Church might become reality in five years, although the Rev. Tim Seigel, St. Gall’s pastor, cautions that there is much to be determined as plans move forward. A new church is not a certainty.
Seigel addressed the subject at Masses last month at the church. As a parishioner, I heard the message there. The talk was as much about repairs that have been made on the current building as it was about future plans, but the tone was hopeful.
The church’s current site is at 120 W. Shannon St., along Route 47, north of the village’s downtown area. The church was built in 1925.
Plans for the new church on Hughes Road and Route 47 have been discussed for years. But, as Seigel mentioned in his talk, the financial crisis that hit in 2008 “seriously impacted this project.” By the time he arrived in 2012, plans were on hold, and Seigel said he knew his first year “would involve a great deal of listening and learning.”
Ultimately, he said, St. Gall will be “hoping to build a church in the next five years.” It isn’t expected to be as large as what first was projected. Seigel cited a report from the head of the office for diocesan planning that suggested “the projected growth in this part of Kane County is not going to be as significant as earlier projections.”
Seigel said a new church with “a seating capacity of 350 people that could be expanded to 700 people by the year 2040 made the most sense.” The original plans called for an eventual expansion to seat more than 1,000.
A new church is desired for several reasons. A larger building could serve a growing parish, and it’s possible Elburn could be in for significant growth after the approval of the plans for the Elburn Station development, which potentially could double the population of the village.
Also, the current building is difficult to maintain, Seigel said. He spoke of recent work that just couldn’t be put off any longer – a new roof, a new HVAC unit for the sanctuary, new office furniture to replace “rickety, wobbly” old desks.
“Why should we build?” Seigel asked. “Because all these repairs clearly indicate that this building, which was erected in 1925, is reaching a point in which it will no longer be feasible to maintain it. We should build because the accessibility to this church is terrible, and every church in the world ought to provide easy access for anyone who wants to worship God within the sanctuary. It is also my belief that building a new church will create greater unity in our parish.”
• Al Lagattolla is the news editor of the Kane County Chronicle. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.