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Parishioners of St. Jude Catholic Church celebrated with hymns and prayers concluding the processional moving of the Holy eucharist into the new Miciotto Family Life Center at their new church campus on Palmetto Drive in Benton. The Miciotto Family Life Center, named after Dr. John and Rose Miciotto, will serve as the congregation’s temporary worship site until the multi-million dollar sanctuary is completed this spring.

St. Jude holds mass in newly dedicated Family Life Center

New year. New church. New beginnings.

That’s how parishioners of St. Jude Catholic Church are looking at 2014. In just a few months, their brand new, multi-million dollar sanctuary will finally be complete.

Until then, the congregation will be gathering for mass just steps away in the Miciotto Family Life Center, named after Dr. John and Rose Miciotto. The church recently relocated administrative offices onto the 20 acre campus and completed the five mile transition of the Holy eucharist (the sacrament that Jesus established when He took bread and wine, blessed them, and declared them to be His body and blood) from the previous sanctuary on Viking Drive north to the new site, led by an escort of deputies with the Bossier Sheriff’s Office.

The first mass at the new location will be held this Sunday, Jan. 12. Father Pike Thomas was short for words following the processional, only commenting on how big of a blessing it is to the community.

“This is a new stage in our lives and we are prepared to worship here. It’s our third time to move, but it’s very symbolic of the journey Christ takes us on in our lives,” Thomas said. “It’s always hard to move because we leave behind a place that we have grown to love. This campus brings us not only a new church, but a new start in life.”

Mass will be held temporarily in the Miciotto room, named for Dr. John and Rose Miciotto who donated 20 acres of land to build the new church. Their 11 a.m. mass has also been rescheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m., Thomas said, as a courtesy to surrounding church congregations and allow the additional traffic flow.

Thomas said construction should wrap up in a few months, weather conditions pending. St. Jude Catholic

Dianne Webber of Bossier City was in awe of the spacious kitchen and eager to begin using the new stainless steel kitchen appliances to cook the first community meal.

“This is the best Christmas gift. It’s gorgeous,” Webber said. “It’s sad to leave the other place, but its exciting to finally be here.”

The new campus, located at 4700 Palmetto Road, spans 39,400 sq. ft. and houses all areas of the church under a single roof. The church building itself is 18,200 sq. ft. and includes seating for more than 700 people.

Thomas described the $8.5 million church in a previous edition of the Bossier Press-Tribune as traditional, but encased in a modern shell. Once construction on the sanctuary is completed, pews will be positioned in a way that will extend outward and circular around the altar instead of a traditional, straight line set up.

There’s a daily mass and reservation chapel, located in a space that can also serve as an overflow area for special services, which seats 50 worshippers.

An 80 ft. bell tower, named “Hyde Tower” in honor of parishioner Smokey Hyde in recognition of his generous donations to the new church, and reflecting ponds will welcome parishioners and guests onto the new campus. Around the building are various panes of colorful stained glass windows, which are visible from exterior and interior of the buildings.

The education building for youth groups and nursery age children, administrative offices, which include a large conference room and reception area, a 1,400 sq. ft. commercial kitchen and a 5,060 sq. ft. are, for the most part, complete.

Once the entire campus is finished, the new St. Jude Catholic Church will be considered “the largest Catholic Church in the Shreveport Diocese.” Thomas said the campus is designed for expansion as they see needed.

He added that they one day hope to construct a school adjacent to the church.

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.