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Chester County Press

St. Pat’s breaks ground on Cornerstone Project

05/15/2023 10:32PM ● By Steven Hoffman
St. Patrick Catholic Church broke ground on the Cornerstone Project, the building of a $1.9 million structure to connect the church and the former St. Patrick School, on May 8.
Historically, the two buildings on Meredith Street in Kennett Square have been separated by a small courtyard. Within the several-months construction project, however, they will be linked by a gathering space where the architectural style was inspired by the former nunnery adjacent to the church.
Rev. Christopher Rogers said parishioners have been speculating for years about the need for such a building, and after listening to their ideas, the decision was made to bring the idea to reality.
He said it will include two new bathrooms, especially helpful for those with physical limitations as well as a sheltered, climate-controlled gathering area for social occasions. The structure will also enable people to walk from the church to the former school while protected from the elements. At each end will be open gateways where individuals can directly access the church’s backyard.
At the groundbreaking, Rogers quoted Scripture and beseeched God to look after and protect the project. Throughout his benediction he stressed that this coming building is an expression of the faith of the congregation as well as the priesthood.
“A church is the priest and God’s people working together,” he said.
Parishioner Rose Hearn, who formerly served on the parish council, said the plan emerged from the needs of a growing congregation and the desire to provide space for people to get together at weddings, funerals and the conclusion of services.
Currently, when the church services are over, they gather outside to talk, but that socialization is hindered when it is raining.
“I think Father saw that need as were growing and the need for entertaining. …It’s beautiful and reminiscent of the convent. Father is good for keeping to the church history,” Hearn said.
She added that the addition of the two bathrooms is especially welcome because the ones at the church now are in the cellar and must be reached via steep steps. It’s hard for elderly to access them, she said.
General contractor Peter C. Egan of CH&E Construction said two years of planning have gone into the project, including applications, phone calls and meetings.
Permissions have been issued by the borough, including the go-ahead to cut down two trees in the area of the construction.
The architect is Patrick Mohan.
Rogers also thanked parishioner Mike Miller, known as “Property Mike,” who has given him support throughout the planning process.