Parish Life Center Plan

Parish Life CenterUpdate: October 14, 2019   

 Click on this picture to open the Fall 2019 Case Statement for our Parish Life Center


This article is the second in a series designed to provide answers to some of the more common questions raised in the Parish Life Center building surveys.  We hope you find this series helpful and insightful. 

Q:  What are the parish demographics? 

A:  As of December 31, 2018, the parish has 1,165 active households, comprised of 3,229 members.  It has grown by 94 households, or 9%, in the last 5 years.  Both the average and median age of our parishioners is 41 years old.  723 of our members are under the age of 18.  466 members are 70 or more years of age.

The Village of Mukwonago website states, “Mukwonago is poised to continue its rapid growth.  Projections show more than 1,000 new residents by 2025.  Demographic studies show economic, education and spending levels rank near the very top of all Wisconsin communities; with higher than average income, education levels, and housing values.”

Q:  Are St. James and St. Theresa merging?  Will St. Theresa have a separate capital campaign, or will it be combined with ours?

A:  There are no plans to merge the two parishes at any time in the foreseeable future.  They are two distinct corporate entities.  This would happen only if both parishes requested it.  St. Theresa has plans for their own Fellowship Hall addition, with its own funding by its own parishioners.  It will not be combined with ours.  The Archdiocese has given both parishes the go-ahead for these projects, which would not have happened if there were any plans to merge.

Q:  How will the Day Chapel be utilized, and what is its projected capacity?  Will it be open 24/7 with its own separate entrance?  Will it have a tabernacle?

A:  Depending upon the seating arrangement, it’s estimated to accommodate 60-65 people.  It would be used for weekday Masses, small weddings and funerals, 40 Hours devotions, Eucharistic adoration, and praying the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy chaplet, and other forms of prayer.  A separate exterior entrance is planned and will probably be open quite often for private prayer and reflection, although exact times and days have yet to be determined.  We aren’t certain if it would house a secondary tabernacle, but the Blessed Sacrament would certainly be present for devotions and adoration.

Q:  How many handicap accessible rooms are really needed?  How will the new Parish Life Center be used? 

A:  Both ADA regulations and the tenants of our Catholic faith mandate that ALL of our facilities should be accessible to those with physical limitations.  The present Parish Center is not, due to stairs at every entrance, and restrooms that cannot accommodate wheelchairs.  It is in use an average of 288 days during the year.

The new Parish Life Center will satisfy a number of needs that our parishioners have identified.  Most areas will have multiple uses to help meet these needs.

The Gathering Space will have a covered drive-under entrance, and will meet parish needs for fellowship and hospitality, with an estimated capacity of about 400.  It may have a coffee bar, serving kitchen, usher station, information desk, and/or kiosk(s) for spiritual publications.  It will provide overflow seating during Masses and an area where parents can take young children.  A corner of this space could be closed off as needed for more intimate meetings.  There will be a glass wall and doors between the church and gathering area.  The church sound system will extend to this area as well.

Adjacent to the gathering area are several Multi-Use Room(s).  Due to movable partition walls, this space can be one large room for about 300 people, 2 medium-sized rooms, or 4 rooms holding 80-100 people each.  It will be especially important for youth/adult formation programs, funeral hospitality or viewings, movies, workshops, etc.  Current facilities are either classrooms that hold about 50, or a gym that seats 700.

 Master Plan Questions & Answers

Many thanks to everyone who has responded to our Facilities survey thus far.  There have been many excellent questions raised.  Rather than trying to respond to them individually, we thought it would be much more helpful to publish some of the predominant ones, along with their answers.  We will make this a series and hope you find it helpful.  There is no such thing as a bad question, other than the one that goes unasked. 

Q: What happened to the money that we gave for Faith In Our Future?

   Those funds, totaling about $250,000, were restricted for either adding on to the existing church or building a new one.  The majority of the money was used in 2013 to enlarge the Narthex outside the rear part of the church.  About $9,300 still remains and is under the oversight of the Finance Council.  It’s held in a restricted parish account, where it is earning interest.  It cannot be used for routine operating expenses.

   Any funds collected for the new building project will be handled in the exact same way.  The parish trustees and Finance Council review all parish accounts monthly.

 Q: Why are we looking to add on?  Are we growing as a parish?

   In the last five years, the Village of Mukwonago has grown at a rate of roughly 3%.  Since the last parish census was done in 2013/14, the parish has grown by about 6% .  That means that after all new families have been added to our database, and members who are deceased or have moved are taken out, our parish is growing by about 25-35 net households per year.  Look around at the construction going on/planned right now in the Village:  apartments, condos, shopping centers, office, clinics, new restaurants, and a new ProHealth hospital.  Explosive growth for at least 1-2 decades is predicted for the entire I-43 corridor from Milwaukee to Janesville.

   The US Council of Catholic Bishops has been studying the trends of successful parishes for many years.  It has concluded that worship spaces and fellowship areas are the most critical facilities needed for relevant parish life in the 21st century, followed closely by comfortable, functional spaces for youth programs and lifelong faith formation.   Parish life as extended family is both the oldest and the most current model of church.

 Q:  What will happen to the stained glass windows on the side of the church that will be opened up when Phase I is added?

These windows are precious gifts that help tell the story of St. James as a community of faith.  They will be carefully removed and stored properly until they are re-installed in either the new day chapel that is part of Phase I, or added to a worship space addition.  They will be professionally handled and insured until that time, under the oversight of the Finance Council.