A plan to move St. Michael’s area priests to a new home near the current St. Michael Catholic Church is well on its way from paper to reality.
Volunteers from the church and the St. Michael Knights of Columbus Council No. 4174 have led the charge for “Dei Dome Gratia” (Home by the Grace of God)
“As a council, we will provide the leadership and support to make this project a reality. For many of you, this may be the first time you have heard of the project and you may have some questions. There are several reasons for a new rectory and the support of each member of the St. Michael Catholic community is essential,” the Knights released in a statement on a new website it is hosting to detail the project.
According to the website and St. Michael city records, the St. Michael Catholic Parish owns a small piece of property at Frankfort Parkway and Cottonwood Avenue, about a half a block from the current church.
“This location makes sense, as it moves the rectory near the church. It uses property already owned by the parish and moves our priests away from noise and traffic and into a residential neighborhood. Someday in the future a new school and social hall will be built at the Frankfort location, so having the rectory nearby makes logistical sense,” the Knights state on the website.
Community Development Director Marc Weigle said the move puts the rectory in proximity to a future campus that will be the center of Wright County’s largest Catholic community, but does create questions about what will happen to the historic rectory, on a lot adjacent to the historic church in downtown St. Michael.
“We’ve had discussions with the church but the city doesn’t have much interest in acquiring more property right now,” Weigle said, pointing to parcels the city already owns to the south of Walgreens and to the south of the former Thrifty White store, as well as city-owned lots on the land between the St. Michael one-way pair.
“Ultimately, it could be an opportunity for a small business to go in and make the renovations necessary to make it a nice, small office complex, which we’ve seen in other communities,” Weigle said. “It’d be an investment, but it’s a great location in the center of town.”
The site would need about $100,000 in improvements, which was one of the reason the Knights felt now was the time to make the move to a new rectory, closer to the current church.
As for the future home of the rectory, a blessing of the ground on which it will be built – near the intersection of Cottonwood Drive and Frankfort Parkway, will be held after the 10:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, April 6.
The Knights are also looking for volunteers to help with the construction of the home. Everyone from laborers to masonry, electricians, plumbers and framers are needed for the project, which will top out at a cost of more than $280,000.
The good news is more than half of that cost – about $180,000, has been raised. The Knights are adamant the project will not add debt to the current Parish funds, and will be totally driven by volunteered time and monetary donations.