More than 300 people turned out to ceremonially sign the nave walls before they are covered with drywall at the new Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church. Photo by Ken Lepper

By Roberta Cianciosi

Parishioners of Our Lady of Grace Church joined the Rev. Marcos Velásquez for a “Signing Day” event Sept. 26 at the site of the new church being built off Adam’s Way west of Porter Road.

It was an opportunity for parishioners to get their first glimpse of the interior of the new church that has been under construction since spring and is scheduled to open Feb. 13.

A steady stream of people entered through what will be the church’s main entrance. They had the opportunity to write their names or a blessing on the nave walls before they are drywalled.

“We are very grateful to the Lord that this will be a place of refuge, prayer and a sanctuary to bring families of God together,” Velásquez said.

Michael Barnes’ recording of the event:

Parish Council Chair Carole Morene and other church representatives were on hand to welcome the faithful and hand out markers.

They left messages of hope, prayer requests and remembrances of those they’ve lost. One family left handprints on a wall along with their names, exemplifying family and faith. For some it was an emotional moment to remember the good times, the challenges and the faith that sustains them during life’s emotional ride.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Erlinda Figueroa said. “Personally, I feel it’s like God’s timing. He knows when we need it and when we will get it, so the blessings will be multiplied.”

Many brought cameras with them to make a permanent record of the experience. For those who came, it will be a treasured memory for years to come.

The Rev. Marcos Velásquez greets parishioners signing the wall at an event Sept. 26.  Photo by Ken Lepper

“It’s pretty, and hopefully it gets built faster,” said Brookelyn De La Cruz, a religious education student who, with her sister Brianna, accompanied their mom to the event.

Among the most imposing features were the five trusses that adorn the church ceiling. Each of the trusses weighs eight tons and was assembled in two parts. The trusses will have eight cross beams between them. The implementation of the trusses is one of the historical aspects of the new church and dates back to the 13th century.

“This has been an awesome experience,” said Judy Madrid, who attended with her husband Ismael. “Family and life, leaving a legacy for a son, setting roots, and being a part of history for generations to come.”

Preparations are underway for the new church’s dedication in February.

OLG-signing-3Photo by Ken Lepper