JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - After years of waiting, members of Blessed Sacrament Church were finally able to open their new building Sunday.
People were lined out the door for the dedication of the new church, and the new building was worth the wait for church members.
“We all came back home again, and we have a church, a beautiful church,” said Louis Schaaf, a member of Blessed Sacrament since 1979.
It’s a homecoming that’s been years in the making.
“We went without church for more than a year now," Father Alphonse Gollapalli said.
And one that didn’t come without a price.
“During the Depression, they had to work manually and build the church, that means that they put themselves, they put their heart and their whole selves in building the church,” said Gollapalli, who is the pastor at Blessed Sacrament.
Blessed Sacrament Church has been a part of the Jonesboro community since 1933.
“Lots of people were buried, lots of people were married, lots of people were baptized,” said Father Gollapalli.
And tearing down the old building is one of the hardest things the parish has had to experience.
“Hundreds and thousands of people before us have found a home of God in that church.” said Father Gollapalli.
But on this Sunday, members and guests were welcomed into a new building that felt a lot like the old.
“Stained glass windows, we had saved the organ, we had saved the Stations of the Cross, we had saved the big Cross.” said Schaaf.
Every important piece of the old church, saved and built into the new, preserving the history of one of Jonesboro’s oldest churches.
“It’s overwhelming, and it is beautiful, and it is a gift from God,” said Shaaf.
After a slow process, Blessed Sacrament Church is ready to welcome home old members, and invite in new.
“This is built for you, so that you can come and find God," said Father Gollapalli.
Father Gollapalli said the church raised $4 million in two months to help build the new church, with the rest of the money coming from selling the land where the old church used to be.
Bishop Anthony Taylor presided over Sunday’s dedication in a bilingual service, and the church held a mass at 5:30 p.m. Sunday for those who couldn’t attend the dedication.
Father Gollapalli said the church will be open seven days a week, and is open to anyone.