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Parishioners unite to build new Catholic church in West Jordan

Published: Sunday, May 1 2011 8:26 p.m. MDT

WEST JORDAN — Four years and about $4 million are what it took to build the new St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church. But that's the short version of the story.

"A lot of people put a lot of hard work into it," parishioner Elizabeth Romero said.

The original building dedicated in 1964 had a boxy exterior and parishioners say the structure was starting to deteriorate and needed frequent repairs.

Father Patrick Carley, the church's pastor, said the new building is a stark contrast to the original.

"We're very proud of it," he said. "We think it's a lovely structure. We're very grateful to our architects and our construction workers. They were outstanding to work with."

The new church features a skylight and a wide open circular meeting space, which can seat up to 800 people. Carley said raising money for the building wasn't easy.

"We're a working-class parish," he said. "We don't have many deep pockets," he said.

Fundraising efforts the past four years helped unite the congregation.

"Our people have been very generous and very devoted," Carley said. "It's brought our parish community together as a community and in faith. That's the best thing of all."

The Most Rev. John C. Wester, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, led the church's first mass Sunday afternoon in front of a packed house.

"It's a culmination of a lot of dreaming and sacrifice," he said. "And really just a good vision for a beautiful new church."

The new oval-shaped architecture was designed in part to be eye-catching. Carley said he wants the church to have a strong visible presence.

The grounds feature an outdoor recreation area and sports field, which he hopes will be shared with the community.

"We're a people … as in the Christian way, not self-absorbed," Carley said. "Not about ourselves, but for the broken bread, broken for the world is what we celebrate in our mass."

— Mike Anderson

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