It’s a new year and there is a new cross in town.
If you have been anywhere near the corner of Jamboree and Eastbluff Drive, you have seen the cross, which sits more than 80 feet in the air.
“Two days before Christmas, the date that marks the greatest gift in Christianity, we shared in a very exciting moment with the raising of our new cross,” said Father Kerry Beaulieu, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church. “The cross and all it symbolizes now stands as a beacon over our parish, welcoming all in our community to join us.”
Members of Our Lady Queen of Angels gathered to share the excitement at a parish celebration, when the new cross was placed atop the steeple of its new church.
“We’ve been working on this for over 15 years,” explained Kathleen Jensen, pastoral administrator at OLQA. “This is the culmination of literally hundreds of hours of work that is finally coming to fruition. It’s amazing and thrilling, and we are all very excited. We hope to celebrate our next Christmas Masses in the new church.”
Kathleen said that inside the cross is a scroll signed by over 3000 parishioners, symbolizing the parish community coming together to celebrate their new church, a project that has been years in development.
“Father Kerry had the idea, which was a very popular idea, to put a very long scroll in the parish center,” Kathleen continued. “The creed that we say at Mass was written in nice calligraphy at the top, followed by lines for everybody to sign. We had signers who were original parishioners and have been with us since 1961, all the way to down to young children. The scroll is made out of Mylar paper, so it will survive. Once signed, it was rolled up very tightly and was inserted into the base of the cross.”
In a recent church bulletin, Father Kerry emphasized the exciting year for the church as it celebrate its 50th anniversary and the construction of the new church building. He pointed out that the new building will attract people.
“As disciples of Jesus, we have an important part to play in bringing people to Christ,” he wrote. “New churches typically attract a 30 percent increase in attendance but they don’t necessarily continue. Our job is to take this opportunity to reach this 30 percent and encourage them to continue to pray with us and follow Christ in the Church.”
Beginning Sunday Jan. 29, there will be a five-week series for those who have been away from the Church to come discuss why they left the church, and to share any past hurts or confusion in a comfortable setting.
Our Lady Queen of Angels, founded in 1961, is an active parish that serves as the spiritual home for approximately 4,000 Catholic families in Newport Beach and the surrounding area. Parish leaders began discussing plans for a new church building in the 1980s and began raising funds for the project in 1998. Groundbreaking took place last June.
Kathleen explained that plans are for the new building to be completed in time for next Christmas, and the expanded church will be able to accommodate close to 1,200 people. The new building will feature a classic design using natural light.
Father Kerry is looking forward to the increased space to expand the outreach programs to those in need and to welcome back returning Catholics.