Now that its sparkling new infrastructure is in place, St. John Neumann Catholic Church can refocus its attention on taking care of the community.
In December, the Sunbury church wrapped up a multimillion dollar expansion, featuring stained glass, an altar and additional seating.
Due to the parish's continuous growth, the expansion was necessary to welcome new members, said Jackie Sutton, St. John Neumann's development director.
"We've been told time and time again we are a welcoming parish and we want to welcome new people," Sutton said. "We're here and we want to reach out for people."
The $5.78 million project began in April 2013 and was completed in time for Christmas. More than 1,000 members, 15 priests, 11 deacons and Columbus Diocese Bishop Frederick Campbell attended the dedication Mass Dec. 18.
"This is a momentous and joyous time in the life of St. John Neumann Parish," Diocese of Columbus spokesman George Jones said. "The church expansion, bridging the existing with the new, will bring a fresh perspective and special meaning into the lives of every parishioner at St. John Neumann, and the lives of future generations."
The church was founded in 1977 and has grown to a community of 1,262 families. The building last was remodeled in 2004, expanding its seating capacity from 250 to 500. That capacity more than doubled with the latest work; the church now holds 1,100 people.
Other features include stained-glass windows from a closed parish in Lorain and an oak altar from Holy Family Museum in Columbus.
"It's nice they are not just sitting in a warehouse somewhere and we are able to reuse the beautiful art pieces," Sutton said.
A new rose window -- a segmented circular window -- also is part of the expansion, Sutton said.
Pastor the Rev. David Sizemore thanked the architects, other project leaders and parishioners for their work and support for the new church at its dedication Mass.
"Thank you to all of our families who have contributed to our building campaigns for the last 10 years. Your sacrifice and generosity is greatly appreciated," Sizemore said in a press release.
Sutton said parishioners are impressed with the expansion and are pleased with the final product.
"Everyone that walks in, mouths just drop open because it is beautiful," Sutton said. "We all just love it and our Mass attendance grows."
Now that construction is complete, Sutton said the parish is turning its thoughts back to people.
"We're going to focus on outreach and help those in need," she said.
Mass is celebrated at 4 p.m. Saturdays; 9 and 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sundays; 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 11 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, 9633 E. state Route 37 in Sunbury.