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Good Shepherd makes plans for new, larger church building

Since the current building for Good Shepherd Catholic Church was built in 1991, a lot has changed. The 175-seat building that once felt spacious has become cramped and claustrophobic as the four Sunday masses begin to host more than 1,000 people every weekend – sometimes boasting 3,000 in attendance. 

“It’s nice, but it’s insufficient,” said Vincent Bresowar, pastor at Good Shepherd.

This time next year, a church building packed to capacity will be a thing of the past, as construction on a new church building is anticipated to begin in October.

The new building will sit on almost eight acres of land to the south of the current building and will hold 500 people. The current church building will be used as a parish hall once the new building is complete.

Brewowar said he does not know how many masses will be held, but there will still be multiple masses to host at least one service in English and one service in Spanish.

The project is expected to cost $2 million, with funds coming from private donors, fundraising and food sales.

Bresowar said when he began planning the new building a year ago, he did not expect to still be at the church when the new building was complete because of how long he anticipated it would take to raise the money. He said to his surprise, the majority of money was raised in a three-month timespan.

“We’ve really been able to raise a lot of money in a short amount of time, which makes me think that it was blessed from above,” Bresowar said. “You know a project of that cost, the time it takes to raise the money could have easily been three or four years.”

He said the church is using a local architect and is trying to use as much local labor as possible to cut down on costs and boost the local economy.

Good Shepherd is the only Catholic church in Franklin County, with the next closest Catholic churches being 20 minutes away in Sheffield and 30 minutes away in Haleyville. 

Bresowar said some people will travel from Florence for services because Good Shepherd offers masses in Spanish.

“We have people come from all over just because our parish is unique in that we offer a lot of options for not only the American community but also the Hispanic community,” Bresowar said.

To donate to the cost of building the new church building, visit giving.parishsoft.com/app/giving/gsrussellville.