The Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine formally opened the St. John Paul II Mission church June 23, celebrating Mass and holding a blessing ceremony in the newly constructed parish center in Nocatee.
The new center was filled to capacity with local residents attending the Mass, which was celebrated by Bishop Felipe J. Estévez with Msgr. Keith Brennan and Rev. Ed Shaner serving as concelebrants.
“This is the day the Lord has made – finally,” Estévez said with a smile. “After four years, you feel at home. Let us really celebrate and rejoice because you have built a house of God.”
Estévez likened the addition of the church to the Nocatee community with the arrival of a new family to a close-knit neighborhood.
“Just as you would say, ‘Those are the McCarthys, there live the Lynches, now you can say, ‘This is a house of God,’” he said. “Let us celebrate today this community of faith. With the founding of St. John Paul II, you now have a complete place to encounter God and receive His mercy.”
Located at 127 Stonemason Way in Nocatee, the parish center will serve as a worship space until the mission can afford to build a church. The 12,000 square-foot space offers seating for 450 as well as administrative offices, conference rooms, a stage, chapel and commercial kitchen.
St. John Paul II is a mission of Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Ponte Vedra Beach under the leadership of Msgr. Keith Brennan. Daily Mass will be celebrated at the parish center Monday through Friday at 8:30 a.m.; and Saturday at 5 p.m., with confession at 4 p.m. Sunday Mass will be celebrated at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.