Franciscan Renewal Center breaks ground for new church in Paradise Valley

An artists exterior rendering of the new facility. (Photo by Westlake Reed Leskosky)

An artists exterior rendering of the new facility. (Photo by Westlake Reed Leskosky)

On Sunday, Jan. 3, Franciscan Friars from the Province of St. Barbara in Oakland, Calif., The Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix, and nearly 400 community members gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking for the new Conventual Church of Our Lady of the Angels at the Franciscan Renewal Center – also known as the “Casa” – at 5802 E. Lincoln Dr. in Paradise Valley.

Construction of the new church is expected to be completed by spring 2017, according to a press release.

“This is the most significant moment in our 65-year history, since the establishment of the Center in 1951,” stated Fr. Joe Schwab, executive director, in the release. “We’re responding to community growth and erecting a building that will speak to the future.”

At the ground-breaking ceremony (photo by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Westlake Reed Leskosky)

At the ground-breaking ceremony (photo by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Westlake Reed Leskosky)

This event marks an important milestone for the Casa, which began as a Catholic retreat center in 1951. The current church seats 300 individuals, which means Mass attendance often spills out into the lobby and onto the lawn and patio.

The new 17,050-square-foot church with 600 fixed seats and flexible seating for an additional 200 will be located on the current west parking lot.

The Casa successfully completed its Renewing Lives Capital Fundraising Campaign in August 2015. A new 32-room guest lodge was completed in March 2015 in addition to the recent remodeling of existing guest rooms and the renovation of the pool, barbeque area and courtyard. Plans to build a multi-purpose Community Life Center are currently in the design stage, the release stated.

“We’re so grateful that Bishop Olmsted was able to come and preside over Eucharist at Mass and lead the blessing for the groundbreaking ceremony,” stated Fr. Peter Kirwin, Rector, in the release. “And we’re delighted that the community participated fully in the blessing.”

In November, the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce honored the Casa as its 2015 Sterling Award winner in the non-profit category. Each year, the Chamber recognizes a charitable organization for its contributions to the social, cultural and educational well-being of the community.

In January, KPNX-TV chose the Casa’s Outreach to Veterans and Military Families Ministry as its January 2016 “12 Who Care” honoree. A segment highlighting the ministry’s healing work with veterans will air throughout the month.

Since 1951, the Franciscan Renewal Center — affectionately known as the “Casa de Paz y Bien” or simply “the Casa” — has existed as a Catholic retreat center in Paradise Valley, to offer spiritual growth, healing and transformation that moves lives into the service of others.

The Casa was founded by and is today an active religious community of the Order of Friars Minor — part of the worldwide Franciscan family, following in the footsteps of Sts. Francis and Clare of Assisi. The Casa is a wholly owned entity of the Franciscan Friars Province of Saint Barbara, based in Oakland, Calif., that works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.

For more information visit www.TheCasa.org or call 480-948-7460.

(photo by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Westlake Reed Leskosky)

(photo by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Westlake Reed Leskosky)

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