On October 1st, FSSP Dallas, the first North American FSSP apostolate, launched its capital campaign to build a new church.
Dallas is certainly an apostolate that has never stopped growing, and this is not the first time that it has outgrown its accommodations. The story begins in June of 1991 when the community’s first Sunday Masses were held at St. Jude’s Chapel in downtown Dallas. Due to scheduling issues, the community moved to the Carmelite Monastery of the Infant Jesus of Prague and St. Joseph in 1992, and soon the booming numbers of attendees made a second Mass necessary. By the time Mater Dei moved to their current church in 2009, their numbers were overflowing the Carmel. The congregation is still growing, and the parish now has four Sunday Masses and four priests.
For some facts and figures on the campaign, we talked to the pastor of Mater Dei, the indefatigable Fr. Thomas Longua, who has been at the helm of the parish since before the first move in 2009. All Masses counted, there are 1,100 faithful who attend Mater Dei on any given Sunday. The church only seats 300, so you can imagine how full these Masses are. Mater Dei plans to add another Mass in the winter, and this will bring the Sunday Mass count to five. The church sees plenty of visitors on Sundays, and its position close to DFW International Airport most likely contributes to that number.
Here’s the idea behind the campaign. Though there are other new parish buildings in addition to the church itself that are part of the whole project, the new church is the first focus of Mater Dei’s efforts. The church, which will have a seating capacity of 900, will come in at $4.5 million, and the current campaign is focusing on garnering over half of that, or one-third of the overall project cost. According to diocesan policy, once they have half the required funds for the church, they can break ground.
The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex has seen continued growth in recent years and its popularity is only increasing; there is thus every reason to believe that the FSSP’s largest apostolate will also continue to increase. The new church is a joyful necessity springing from the fact that, amidst the arid plains of North Texas, the grace of God has planted an abundant garden of souls that just won’t stop blossoming and whose bountiful harvest is far beyond what mere human effort could produce. In a word, Mater Dei’s persistent habit of outgrowing its boundaries is a problem we couldn’t be happier to have.
If you are a Mater Dei parishioner, a traveler who has had the joy of visiting this apostolate, or just a faithful soul who would like to help make this new church a reality for Mater Dei, please donate to their campaign by clicking here.