GRANTS PASS — For three and a half years, St. Anne Parish in Grants Pass has been in talks with contractors about potentially rebuilding the church. Parish leaders discovered that remodeling their current church would cost about as much as building a new one.
Father William Holtzinger, pastor at the parish, wasn’t sure they could raise the money needed for that. Many parishioners were skeptical. Grants Pass is not a wealthy area, after all. The pastor wouldn’t commit the parish to paying for a new church unless they already had the money to do it.
“We were very cautious,” says Father Holtzinger.
So the parish hired a company to help lead the capital campaign. The company set a goal for the parish to raise at least $2.5 million in two and a half months. They started the fundraising in October. A capital campaign cabinet was created with members of the community leading different elements of the effort.
“We didn’t really know what we could do,” says Bill Bailey, who chaired the community gifts committee. Their committee helped in securing larger advanced gifts and smaller gifts throughout the campaign.
Dave and Terri Currie were tasked with leading the prayer committee. They gathered parishioners to commit to praying for the success of the endeavor. They had an online prayer petition and even held a 24-hour prayer vigil dedicated to praying for the fundraising effort.
“There were a lot of people praying,” says Dave Currie.
Many people were still not optimistic that the money would be raised. But Father Holtzinger was sure that if it was God’s will to build this church, they would meet their goal.
On Father Holtzinger’s birthday in November, they did just that.
They’ve since reached subsequent goals set by the company and have raised $3.58 million. Building the new church is estimated to cost about $2.5 million. Whatever is left will be put into a reserve or endowment fund to pay for maintenance.
“We’ve been called to do this,” says Father Holtzinger.
The excitement for the new church was obvious. Large donations of hundreds of thousands of dollars came in as well as $1 donations from children in the pews.
“There was more will and desire to do this than we even thought,” he says.
After school at St. Anne gets out in June, the community will begin to move things from the church to the parish hall and storage. In July, the current church will undergo asbestos abatement, and in August, it will be demolished. Ten months of constructing the new church will begin in September with the pouring of a new foundation.