Fr. Basil Lawrence, pastor at St. Paul Parish in Silverton, stands beside Archbishop Alexander Sample as the archbishop blesses the parish’s long-awaited narthex. (Elisha Valladares-Cormier/Catholic Sentinel)
Fr. Basil Lawrence, pastor at St. Paul Parish in Silverton, stands beside Archbishop Alexander Sample as the archbishop blesses the parish’s long-awaited narthex. (Elisha Valladares-Cormier/Catholic Sentinel)

Correction: A previous version of this article listed that only $397,000 worth of the pledges for the new narthex had been collected as of Aug. 6. The State of the Parish report listed that $609,512 had been collected.

SILVERTON — More than 100 people gathered at St. Paul Parish here as Archbishop Alexander Sample dedicated the church’s new narthex and celebrated the completion of the long-awaited project.

During the dedication, the archbishop processed through the newly constructed narthex and a renovated choir loft, blessing the walls with holy water. He spoke to those gathered and commended the parish on its accomplishment.

“You are meeting not only the needs of this current parish, but for the future generations of the faithful in Silverton,” he said.

“You keep finishing these projects, and I’ll keep coming to bless them,” added the archbishop with a smile as he gazed around the crowd.

Father Basil Lawrence, the pastor, thanked those involved in the building project — the first one completed at the parish in decades — saying, “We did this together.”

In his State of the Parish Address, Father Lawrence announced that $750,000 of the $925,00 cost of the project had been pledged by parish members. As of Aug. 6, $609,512 had been collected.

Jonathan Edmonds, a member of the parish finance council, said that most of the costs incurred were not directly associated with the new narthex itself. Parts of the building’s infrastructure failed to meet several city and county regulations, said Edmonds. Thus, sprinklers were added to the church’s interior and the restrooms were upgraded and expanded.

Several parish groups held their own fundraisers to help with the cost of the project, including a pancake breakfast put on by the Knights of Columbus and several tamale sales by the Latino community.

“This narthex project is not one single group’s accomplishment,” said the archbishop. “We need more parishes like St. Paul — parishes that can come together and utilize their diversity for the good of God’s people in their community.”