On Sunday, June 8, 2014, leaders from Sacred Hearts Church shared their plan to rebuild their church, destroyed by fire, Thanksgiving morning, 2013.
“We’ve lost our worship space, our place to gather for meetings, classrooms for our children, and all of our religious furnishings,” said Sacred Hearts Pastor, Father John Bakle. “We’ve prayerfully worked to design a modest but traditional church to glorify God and to meet our basic needs as a congregation. Unfortunately,insurance will only cover half of the cost to construct a new church and replace classrooms and meeting space, so their is a need for a capital campaign,” Bakle said.
All that was left of the church was the concrete slab, but members were able to recover religious statues and the cross that once stood on top of the church. The cause of that fire is still undetermined.
The congregation of about 200 people now meet in the cafeteria at the vacated Cardington Local School District intermediate building. Sacred Hearts Church is renting the location now but members hope to be able to attend services in the new church building by Christmas of 2015.
The estimated total cost for the church and social hall is $2.3 million. Parish leaders outlined the availability of $1.2 million from insurance funds and $100,000 in parish savings which requires the need to raise an additional $1 million to construct the new church as designed.
Patrick Drouhard, fund drive chairman, says they’re starting a five-year pledge campaign.
“It’s great to see everybody here,” he said. “I think these people are committed to building this facility and having a nicer church than we actually had before.”
Church officials say firefighters told them on Thanksgiving, flames were shooting 40 feet in the air when they arrived there. The church had scheduled a holiday mass that day, but no one was in the building when the fire started. Drouhard says the money raised will be a worth-while investment.
“Make a pledge that you can that will help us meet our goals here and provide a fine facility. A fine church, social area, classroom space for our future.”
Church officials hope the building can last 100 years or longer.
“It’s important to our community. We’re the only Catholic church in Morrow County and we need to be vibrant and we need to bring back the facility that we lost,” Drouhard said. “We have the plan we have the design. It’s a modest design but like everything else it’s easy to plan, it’s easy to make the plans but funding it’s another story.”
“Their lives are so entwined with a building like this, said architect William Heyer from William Heyer Architects. “It’s not just about coming here on Sunday. It’s about coming here during the week for Children’s religious education it’s for coming here for the bazaars they have to sell goods it’s for all kinds of community events.”
Volunteer Andy Ware reported Monday that at this point in the campaign they have received a total of 99 pledges and donations totaling $275,000 dollars.
“The next couple weeks we will keep moving forward. We are extremely pleased by the enthusiastic support. We still have a long way to go,” said Ware.
If you would like to donate, send a check to Sacred Hearts Roman Catholic Church at 4680 U.S. Route 42, Cardington, 43315, or call Tamara Dieter at 419-946-3611, ext. 100. Groundbreaking is set for August 1, with construction expected to take at least a year.