The Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Redlands is moving forward with plans to build a new, 1,200-capacity church on the northeastern side of town, and has filed an application with the city for a conditional use permit.

Church officials plan to break ground some time next year.

The parish is still raising money for the $26.4 million project, the design of which has been reworked since 2016 as a cost-saving measure, said Deacon Stephen Serembe, the parish’s pastoral coordinator.

The parish announced in 2015 its plans to relocate the two sites at 115 W. Olive Ave. and 1205 Columbia St., along with its affiliated Sacred Heart Academy at 215 S. Eureka St., to the new, yet-to-be built parish on Lugonia Avenue, west of Dearborn Street. The three sites are being sold to help raise money for the new church.

An advantage the new church will bring is unity among parishioners, Serembe said.

The Columbia Street and Olive Avenue locations were formerly separate parishes — St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart, respectively. Sacred Heart was established in January 1896. St. Mary’s was established in January 1938, mainly to accommodate non-white parishioners.

“Non-Anglo people were dissuaded from coming to the Sacred Heart site at the time, so St. Mary’s was built,” Serembe said. “The separate sites really have been a negative influence on joining together as one parish community. This is really the culmination in part of bringing the two communities together that should have been together from the very beginning.”

The two parishes merged on July 1, 2006, into Holy Name of Jesus Parish.

“Once we have one site we can have fewer Masses because the church will be much bigger and we can sit more people. We’ll be able to sit 1,500 at a time,” Serembe said, adding that the church will of course continue to celebrate Mass in both English and Spanish.

Full story at Redlands Daily Facts.