Changes afoot on St. Brendan the Navigator Catholic Church campus

A. Kevin Corvo
ThisWeek group
Butch LeCoumpte of Henry Painting Co. uses a brush to touch up stained glass frames near the ceiling of the newly constructed adoration chapel in St. Brendan the Navigator Catholic Church in Hilliard.

Parishioners at St. Brendan the Navigator Catholic Church are closer than before, both physically and spiritually, thanks to a $7.3 million, 22,975-square-foot addition that connects the campus’ church and school buildings.

The parish has been a fixture of the community since 1956, and the current church building has been a landmark at the southwest corner of Davidson and Dublin roads in Hilliard since it was dedicated about 40 years ago, according to stbrendans.net.

“Our ONE campaign has met its goal of creating an addition that provides the convenience of joining us under one roof and providing the additional space for our ministries,” said Colleen Speer, director of development for St. Brendan.

Construction for the Our Navigator Expansion campaign began in August 2019, and finishing touches continued during the final days of September, including the installation of a 1,200-pound marble altar in the church’s new adoration chapel.

It will be used for parishioners who prefer a small, quaint chapel for weddings or funerals but also as a place for personal prayer and reflection, Speer said.

The altar at the adoration chapel and other sacred pieces eventually will be consecrated, but owing to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the large and formal dedication that the St. Brendan staff members and parishioners would have celebrated must wait until later, she said.

Instead, members were permitted to take self-guided tours of the new addition Sept. 27.

The addition represents the first – albeit the largest – of four phases derived from the desire of parishioners, Speer said.

“We didn’t dream them up,” she said. “We asked for their input and what they wanted.”

After completing the design for an addition and other improvements, St. Brendan leaders in early 2019 began a campaign to collect pledges to complete the first phase of the expansion, Speer said. To date, the church has pledges of $6.3 million, she said.

Construction began last year with a loan from the Catholic Diocese of Columbus that will be reimbursed with parishioners’ pledges, Speer said.

The first phase included connecting the church to the school, which is attended by 450 students in kindergarten through the eighth grade.

Previous story:Parishioners pledge to bring St. Brendan under ‘one roof’

A new 8-foot statute of St. Brendan the Navigator, made in Italy, now greets those approaching the church’s main entrance.

A new child-care center also was built adjacent to the sanctuary; the former child-care center was in a different building from the sanctuary, Speer said. 

The first phase also includes new parish and school offices and a multipurpose meeting room. 

The new additions allow for the growth of the church’s programs and its school, said Rev. Bob Penhallurick, pastor of St. Brendan’s Church.

Penhallurick said 3,016 families are members of St. Brendan, and 2,800 people on average attend multiple services every Sunday.

The sanctuary, which seats nearly 1,000 people, did not change.

Jerry Kleimo of Henninger’s Inc. uses a level to center an altar pedestal at the newly constructed adoration chapel in St. Brendan the Navigator Catholic Church in Hilliard. The Henninger’s company, based in Brook Park, specializes in the installation of stained glass, hanging crosses, altars and other architecture in places of worship.

Only one first-phase plan did not come to fruition: an expanded cafeteria because it was instead used as additional classroom space to allow for social distancing of children attending the school during the pandemic, Speer said.

Future phases include additional construction and renovations that would total 25,100 square feet of new construction and 8,525 square feet of renovated space on the 74,205-square-foot campus.

The second phase, estimated at less than $200,000, would consist of renovating the unattached parish offices into small meeting rooms.

The third phase, estimated at $150,000, would include remodeling and expanding the school’s kitchen and building new restrooms.

The fourth phase, estimated at $750,000, would involve a building addition to serve as a preschool and early education center, according to Speer.

St. Brendan last was renovated in 1998, when a rectory was added to the campus. It also was expanded in 1992 when school classrooms were added.