It’s been at least 25 years in the making but St. James Parish is finally building a new church just east of Perris city limits.

A ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony took place on March 11 and initial grading work at the Dunlap Drive property began in April. In a year, the parish hopes to be worshipping in its spacious new 1,500 seat church.

“Excitement is coming little by little,” said Father Pedro Amezcua, C.O.R.C., Pastor of St. James. “The opportunity God’s providence is giving us to build the church anew in Perris, it means that we are to recall that we are the people of God, searching for holiness and walking in Perris spreading the Kingdom of God.

St. James current church, built in 1957, seats about 300 people. The small size, coupled with a growing congregation, necessitates eight weekend Masses at the parish. Large overflow crowds typically gather outside the church on Sunday mornings to listen to the Mass through externally mounted speakers.

The need for a bigger church at St. James is not new, the parish began the fundraising drive to buy the land in 1981, purchasing the Dunlap Drive property back in 1996.

At the March 11 groundbreaking ceremony, Father Rafael Partida, Episcopal Vicar for the Riverside Pastoral Region, performed a blessing of the property on behalf of Bishop Gerald Barnes.

The estimated cost to build the new church is $6.9 million. It will be the fifth church to utilize the Diocesan church design template that allows for more cost-effective construction.

Full story at Inland Catholic Byte.