St. Theresa Church opens its new doors |

St. Theresa Church opens its new doors

A quiet crowd of more than 700 gathered Sunday as the dedication of the new St. Theresa Catholic Church began.

The congregation watched as William Weigand, the bishop of Sacramento, was given the keys to the church, which he raised reverently above his head as he blessed the building.

“Go within his gates giving thanks,” he prayed. “Enter his courts with songs of praise.”

Applause ran through the crowd, and there were sporadic cheers as people poured inside for the first time. The crowd included more than 20 priests from churches around the Sacramento diocese.

“We have been waiting for a long time,” said Jeannette Holmes, the principal of St. Theresa School. “The oak and the stained glass windows are beautiful and the sound inside is wonderful. It is just a gorgeous place to worship.”

The $2.5 million church smelled more of new pine than of flowers and candles but many were happy the church was open for Palm Sunday – the beginning of Holy Week, which celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and ends on Easter Sunday.

“I have been looking forward to the new church. I was tired of having (Mass) in the (St. Theresa) gym,” said 13-year-old Ben Leonard, whose mother plays organ during services. He said more people should come to church and hoped the building might attract them.

“It is a beautiful building,” said Mayor Tom Davis, who was married in the old St. Theresa Church, which was torn down last spring.

The old building had a weak foundation, poor wiring, and its walls were beginning to rot.

“It was time,” said Lyn Barnett of the Church’s building and finance committee. “It didn’t function as a modern church. The members of the congregation couldn’t see each other, it wasn’t wheelchair-accessible. It was just old.”

Among those of the congregation who said they will miss the old church was David Kelly, who has been a member of the congregation for 15 years.

“The old church was wonderful and it had a lot of history,” he said. “It was definitely Tahoe, but we will enjoy the new church as well.”

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