Lake Stevens parishioners celebrate dedication of new church

  • Written by Nathan Whalen
  • Published in Local
The new church building at Holy Cross Parish in Lake Stevens has room for more parishioners in the fast-growing community. Photo: Courtesy Holy Cross Parish Facebook page The new church building at Holy Cross Parish in Lake Stevens has room for more parishioners in the fast-growing community. Photo: Courtesy Holy Cross Parish Facebook page

LAKE STEVENS – Members of Holy Cross Parish are now worshipping as one, in a larger church building dedicated April 28 by Archbishop J. Peter Sartain.

“It’s been a dream for many years,” said Father Jay DeFolco, who has been pastor of Holy Cross for 16 years.

With about 800 registered households and a small church with space for about 140 people, “we were out of room. There was no place for people to go,” said parishioner David Hutzenbiler.

So when the church filled up, parishioners went to the parish hall (with space for another 100 parishioners) to participate in Mass via big-screen television. Even with five Masses each weekend, there wasn’t enough room, Father DeFolco said.

“The most important thing is feeding people the body and blood of Christ,” Hutzenbiler said, “and you don’t want to turn people away.”

Holy Cross began using the new church, with a capacity of 430 people, the week before Ash Wednesday, when Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo celebrated the parish’s confirmation Mass, Father DeFolco said. They celebrated Ash Wednesday and triduum liturgies in the new space, including the Easter Vigil, when five people were baptized and three were confirmed.

“That building is our home as a faith community,” a place for people to be uplifted and comforted, said parishioner Pat Thomson, a member of the parish’s art and furnishing committee.

Deacons Joe Shriver and Carl Chilo carry the relics of Sts. Victor and Clement at the beginning of the dedication Mass for Holy Cross Parish’s new church April 28. Father Jay DeFolco, Holy Cross’ pastor, is at the end of the procession. The relics were sealed inside the altar at the Lake Stevens church. Photo: Courtesy Holy Cross Parish

Parish expects to continue growing

The church building, located between Lake Stevens and Granite Falls, is the third in the history of Holy Cross. For nearly 100 years, Holy Cross was a mission of St. Michael Parish in Snohomish. It became a parish in 2004, when it had 74 registered households. The small church the parish has been using was built on the 32-acre parish property in 2007.

Located in one of the fastest-growing areas of Snohomish County, Holy Cross draws people from Lake Stevens and Granite Falls as well as parts of Arlington, Marysville and Snohomish. Students from 13 high schools were represented in this year’s confirmation class, Father DeFolco said.

About half of Holy Cross parishioners speak English and half speak Spanish, and the parish has significant Filipino, Vietnamese and military communities, the pastor said.

The new church includes items from the original mission church: the ambo, statues of Mary and Joseph, and, hanging in the entryway, a tile cross and Stations of the Cross. New furnishings include the tabernacle, a crucifix and seven stained-glass windows, each representing a sacrament, that were crafted by a studio in California, Thomson said.

Archbishop J. Peter Sartain prepares to place the relics of Sts. Victor and Clement under the altar during the April 28 dedication Mass at Holy Cross Church in Lake Stevens. Photo: Courtesy Holy Cross Parish

Parishioner Al Fitch constructed the new altar to match the style of the ambo; the materials were donated by the parish’s Knights of Columbus group.

“It was the largest project I’ve ever done,” Fitch said, adding that it was “an honor to be able to do it.”

As parishioners settle into their new worship space, they know that another new church may be in their future.

“This is our home for now,” Father DeFolco said, noting that Holy Cross is expected to grow to 1,700 households. “In 15 to 20 years, we’ll be needing an even larger church.”