Out with the old, in with a new St. Theresa | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Out with the old, in with a new St. Theresa

Sarah Gonser

With the far-reaching swipes of a bulldozer claw, demolition began last week on the nearly 50-year-old St. Theresa Catholic Church.

Planning for the construction of a larger church began two years ago but the pastor described watching the actual demolition as an emotional experience.

“Taking something this old and completely removing it is always sad,” said Monsignor Murrough Wallace, pastor at St. Theresa for the last six years. “But we look forward to the future and when people see the new church, I’m sure they’ll be very happy.”

The old church, a converted parish hall with two side wing additions, seated between 400 and 500 people, Wallace said. The new building, scheduled for completion next spring, will seat 700 and include all sorts of modern conveniences, including full wheelchair access and a bridal room.

“The old church was just too small and it wasn’t in good shape at all – there was so much wrong with it,” Wallace said Friday. “Everything will be different in the new church – even though there’s a lot of the old going into the new. People who know the old will be able to see it in the new church.”

Among the old faithfuls, knotty pine panels, skimmed tree pillars and old pews have been stored away for later use in the new 13,500-square-foot church. Also, the new building will face the mountains so that the congregation can enjoy the view through clear glass windows behind the altar. There will be stained glass windows throughout the rest of the church, a small gift shop for religious articles, an extended corridor area with seating and a social hall with its own bathrooms.

“There are a lot of new conveniences that we never had before,” Wallace said. “The people of the parish are very supportive, both financially and otherwise, and are very excited with the project.”

During construction, services and all sundry church functions including baptisms and weddings, will be held either at the gymnasium on the corner of Lyons Avenue and U.S. Highway 50 or the conference parish center which seats 36 people.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.