Final phase coming to a close at Holy Savior

One of the additions making up the final phase of construction at Holy Savior Parish in Wichita is a covered entrance to the church. Bishop Carl A. Kemme will bless the gymnasium and the other additions to the campus on Sunday, July 31. (Advance photo)

Fr. James Billinger has a great sense of thanksgiving as the final phase of construction nears completion at the Holy Savior Parish campus in Wichita.

Years ago, when the parish conducted an analysis about renovating the school that was originally on the property, he said, they were told it would cost about $2 million to bring the building up to code. Instead, the parish used the old School of the Magdalen and moved again, later, to a former public school at 15th Street and Oliver.

After years of planning and discussion, Holy Savior launched its Built of Living Stones Campaign in 2016 which resulted in the completion of a new church and school in 2019. It initiated the second phase in 2020 to link the two buildings with an addition that includes a gymnasium, a health clinic, classrooms, and parish administrative offices.

Culmination of years of work

“This has been the culmination of many years of work by very dedicated parishioners, very dedicated benefactors, and other people who carried this along,” Fr. James Billinger said.

He credited former pastor Fr. Pat Malone and Deacon Ron and Kitty Ealey for much of the foundational work that resulted in the parish being able to buy up most of the property that is now the Holy Savior campus. “They provided the leadership necessary to keep the parish administration doing what it needed to do,” he said.

The parish will commemorate the completion of the project Sunday, July 31, when Bishop Carl A. Kemme will visit for an 11 a.m. Mass and celebration.
In addition to thanking Bishop Kemme for his support throughout both phases, Fr. Billinger said he also is thankful for the assistance of Bryan Coulter, the diocesan director of Finance and Administrative Services, the parish leadership teams, the building commission “and a whole host of people who have worked diligently for years.”

It’s a miracle

Dr. Delia Shropshire, president of Holy Savior Academy, said the completion of the project is taking to a miracle. “The beauty of God’s hand woven throughout the entire time of planning and preparation is clearly evident,” she said. “If people have a hard time believing that miracles can happen, this is concrete evidence that God is still in the miracle business.”

Joe Rodriguez, director of Development for Holy Savior, said the parish appreciates everyone who played a part in both phases. “We’ve had donations of a wide range of amounts for this project and we are grateful to everyone who has supported this project at any and every level.”

He said parishioners are enthusiastic about how the parish has developed over the last few years.

“It’s truly a miracle to see how this has happened in the heart of Wichita,” Rodriguez said. “It’s taken a lot of work, a lot of planning, and a lot of organization. It’s come together because of a good plan, wonderful support, and a lot of prayers that were answered.”