St. Charles Parish, Hartland, will dedicate its new worship space the weekend of April 6-7. Construction on the project began in June 2021. (Submitted photo)

After three years of construction, St. Charles Parish in Hartland’s brand-new 33,000-square-foot church is completed and ready for its debut.

With the church’s dedication weekend planned for April 6 and 7, parishioners will finally have a chance to celebrate in their much-anticipated new worship space.

“It has been a lengthy project, but is totally worth it when we see how in awe visitors are of the space,” said Mike Cattani, Facilities Manager for the parish. “The parish at large has been very supportive of our new church, and there has been excitement in the air since the exterior walls were put up.”

Ground broke on St. Charles’ new church in June 2021, but the project had been in the works for years before that. St. Charles Pastor Fr. Ken Omernick formed a strategic planning committee to assess the current and future needs of the parish in 2015, as the faith community continued to outgrow its current worship space, which was constructed in 1993. Parish membership has tripled since that time, with about 3,000 registered households this year and an anticipated school enrollment of 370 next year.

Parish members have had two opportunities for self-guided tours of the completed church, said Fr. Omernick.

“We were very pleased to witness everyone’s excitement at those events and were delighted to welcome members of the community who were curious about this large construction project,” he said.

A Vespers service is planned for Friday, April 5, in the old church so that parishioners can have one last opportunity to pray in the space. The old church is one of several existing spaces that will be renovated to create additional classrooms for the school, a larger atrium for the parish’s Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program and a larger parish hall.

Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki will consecrate the new church on the morning of Saturday, April 6. That weekend, St. Charles will hold its regularly scheduled Masses at 5 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday, April 7.

The nave of the new worship space is 24,000 square feet and can accommodate 1,170 people, with a choir loft of 1,200 square feet that can seat 50. The Perpetual Adoration Chapel will have 40 seats. Fr. Omernick said, “parishioners are eagerly anticipating the opening of our Perpetual Adoration Chapel, where they can stop by any time of day to pray.”

The Romanesque new church is distinguished by a 65-foot-tall dome with a center cupola that reaches a height of more than 100 feet. The interior features paintwork by Conrad Schmitt Studios, for which the New Berlin-based firm has garnered national attention, including write-ups in Traditional Building magazine and Crux. The liturgical elements in the church’s interior include six Tyrolean stained-glass windows dating from the turn of the century. The doors to the church are decorated with replicas of bronze plaques that adorn the doors of the Basilica of San Zeno in Verona, Italy.

When asked what their favorite feature of the new church is, Cattani and Fr. Omernick highlighted several — from the ornately painted ceiling to the “incredible stained-glass windows (that are) beacons of light in the space, especially when the sun is shining through them.”

“The marble altar, ambo and baptismal font we have are particularly striking when you see them in person,” said Cattani.

“We are especially looking forward to celebrating our first Mass in the church and hearing our phenomenal choirs,” said Fr. Omernick.