St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in The Woodlands set to open $4.5 million chapel

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Tiling work, some window additions, the uncovering of pews and a few finishing touches are all that is needed before the new chapel at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in The Woodlands is complete.

As the church community and The Woodlands grew, it became more difficult for St. Anthony to accommodate weddings, baptisms and quinceaneras, so the church began planning the chapel for have more space. The Chapel of Our Lady of the Angels officially opened in February 2021, after several years of planning.

Janine Braun, a longtime church member and current director of buildings and grounds, said planning for the chapel began at least seven years ago during a former fundraising campaign, Greater Glory.

“The plans for this building were made, and then they were shelved after the Great Glory because we just weren’t ready to go on,” Braun said. “Over time the decision was made to continue with this build and we pretty much pulled out those blueprints, dusted them off, reviewed them and made sure this was still the same space we wanted and wanted. we needed.”

In January 2020, the church launched a fundraising campaign that raised money for the church’s next steps, including the $4.5 million needed to build the chapel.

Construction is expected to be complete in the coming weeks, and the church plans to hold a dedication and blessing ceremony in December with Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

The chapel, which sits behind the main church on Bay Branch Drive, seats approximately 350 people. In addition to several confessional rooms, the chapel will include a reliquary for 28 relics of various saints, including Saint Anthony.

Most of the relics were donated by the Vatican, and the church expects the collection to be a big draw for visitors from across the state and even the country, even visitors who aren’t Catholic.

“For non-Catholics who think it’s weird that we have bodies and bones of saints, they might appreciate that aspect of faith,” said Nate Hoffman, communications coordinator for the church. “We also have the sense of those saints in heaven praying beside us, right beside us, for our same intentions.”

The reliquary was not always part of the plan of the chapel. It was only after the church launched its Horizon fundraising campaign that campaign co-chairman and church parishioner Jerry Trzeciak called an old friend who worked for the Vatican and was offered 19 relics. The church already had six relics and several more were donated by other parties.

“They said, ‘Well, this is an opportunity we can’t pass up, so let’s try to figure this out,'” Hoffman said of church leadership. “Now we’re getting calls from people making pilgrimages from the area, from Houston, to come see these relics and pray with them.”

Because the reliquary was the last part of the project to be added and priced, it is one of the last areas to be completed, said Barry Farr, chapel superintendent for Arch-Con Corporation, the general contractor for the project. The final inspection with the fire marshal is one of the last steps needed before Farr says the chapel is complete from a construction perspective.

“It’s something that has eternal value,” said Farr, who has been building churches for at least 20 years. “That’s why I like doing it.”

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