Out with the old, in with the new

WILDWOOD | On August 15, more than 100 parishioners of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Wildwood gathered as pastor, Father Peter Puntal, offered a Prayer Service of Thanksgiving in the old church building. He blessed the space for fulfilling the needs of a growing parish and bid it farewell before it is demolished, making room for a new Family Life Center.

Built in 1994, the old mission church required expansion within the decade due to a population explosion in the area. However, by 2013, the community, now an official parish, had once again outgrown its facilities. Plans for a new church began anew. Once built, the space served as the social hall for ministry gatherings, activities, faith formation classes, holiday Mass overflow and administrative offices. Prior to the new church construction, the building also served as St. Vincent de Paul’s church, where 11 Masses were held per weekend to accommodate all.

After a parish survey revealed a need for additional meeting rooms and gathering space, the parish’s “Building the Way to Heaven” capital campaign got underway. Within one year, the community raised a staggering $3.7 million. Funds enabled yet another expansion of the “new” church, adding 800 seats and the building of the Family Life Center.

The new center will provide the vibrant, expanding parish with a social hall, catering kitchen, library, religious gift store, meeting rooms and administrative offices—allowing ministries to serve and know God more fully, and outreach programs to help others in the surrounding community.

The old church is scheduled for demolition in November making way for the new center to be completed in the fall of 2020. The church expansion will begin shortly after the completion of the Family Life Center.

“We are truly blessed as a community,” said Father Puntal. “Our parish continues to grow and all are welcome to join our community.”

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic September 04, 2019