St. Fabian to move forward with sanctuary constructionBy BUSTER WOLFE,
The concrete flooring is expected to be poured later this month as St. Fabian Catholic Church plans to move into its sanctuary later this year before the church’s fifth anniversary, according to Father Tommy Conway.
Several factors slowed down construction after ground was broken about a year ago for the 15,000-square-foot building, Conway said.
“We broke ground in January of last year,” he said. “We sat for a while because the prices came in a lot higher than we expected, so we had a lot of negotiations. We had some agreements to work out with our good neighbors, Willow Pointe Baptist Church. We basically got all of that sorted and we negotiated with the low bidder. They were ready to go, so here we are. Of course, as it always happens, the site is mucky.”
Natural elements also caused a slowdown at the construction site on Mississippi Hwy. 589, which includes 55 acres.
“Dealing with the aftereffects of the (Jan. 21, 2017) tornado certainly pushed things back,” he said. “And there has been a lot of rain lately that has caused problems.”
Conway said his congregation of 700-800 people has been holding services at Benedict Day School south of the church construction site.
“We have continued to have services at Benedict Day School,” he said. “We have all of our missions up and running and going. It’s a good crew and later this month, we will be celebrating our fourth year anniversary. Praise God, for our next anniversary, we will have a building.”
Conway said getting the concrete poured will speed up the construction process.
“Part of it is very, very slow,” he said. “The footings and the concrete take time. We hope to be pouring concrete within a month. Once the concrete is poured, then the rest of it will go fast.”
Conway said locating the church in West Hattiesburg serves an important purpose for the Catholic community.
“There’s really no Catholic church in this area,” he said. “The closest one is St. Thomas, which is really geared toward the (Southern Miss) campus. We took some pressure off of that one by moving over here. The growth is westward and everything moving west on Highway 98.”
Many members of the congregation also come from the West Hattiesburg area, Conway said.
“A lot of the people are Lamar County people, weren’t going to church or were going to other churches,” he said. “So we are glad to have them.”
Conway said construction usually stalls during the colder months.
“This is the slowest part of the year because of the weather,” he said. “It’s going to be cold, but there’s also been some rain. If that wind keeps blowing, it will dry up pretty fast.
It will be large enough to last us for a few years until we get off the ground with the next phase.”