Text and photos by Gregory A. Shemitz
Sunday Oct. 29 marked a day of joyful celebration for the parishioners of SS. Peter and Paul Church in Manorville as nearly 500 people gathered inside the parish’s newly renovated church for a rite of rededication, capping three years of planning and construction that resulted in an updated worship space and a larger multi-purpose community room.
Bishop John Barres was the principal celebrant and homilist at the 11 a.m. Mass. Montfort Father Jose Jacob, the current pastor who spearheaded the project, and Father John McGratty, the parish’s founding pastor, were among the concelebrating priests.
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About 3,000 square feet of ground-level space was added to a wing of the L-shaped structure, which many years ago was first used as a chicken coop before being converted into a church for St. James Parish in Seaford following its founding in 1951. The building was lifted from its foundation in 1993 and transferred by trailer to Manorville, where SS. Peter and Paul was beginning its transition from mission to parish status, which it attained in 1996.
The new addition (the St. Paul wing) provides space for the parish outreach office and its food pantry, which was previously located in the basement of the rectory. The expanded common area can be set up for religious education classes and parish meetings, and was also designed to serve as an overflow space to accommodate larger assemblies during special services and major holy days.
The main worship area, which includes a family room in the St. Peter wing to the left of the sanctuary, can seat up to 350 worshipers. St. Anthony Church in Rocky Point, a parish that is undergoing its own renovation, supplied the oak pews. A team of SS. Peter and Paul parishioners refurbished the pews prior to their installation.
The project also included the construction of a 2,500-square-foot basement below the addition, which will be used for storage.
More than 150 volunteers participated in various phases of the renovation, donating their time and skills to give the 650-family parish a brand-new look.