Charlotte Catholic Mission Formation
With the blessing and direction of Fr. Paul Chalissery and Fr. Jobymon Joseph Chelakunnel, a General Committee was formed to explore the spiritual needs of the Malayalee Catholic families residing in the Charlotte metro area. The committee, along with Fr. Paul Chalissery and Fr.Jobymon Joseph Chelakunnel, agreed to request our Bishop Mar Jacob Angadiath of Chicago diocese to start a Mission in Charlotte. Also, the committee decided to explore the possibility of a Malayalee Catholic church in Charlotte.
Search for our own place to worship
The desire to have our own place to celebrate mass in Syro-Malabar rite has been growing among the community members for a long time. We need a church facility to congregate, share in friendship & build common bonds with others in the community. This will enable us to receive the sacraments in our rite, celebrate our traditional activities like annual retreat, perunnal, etc. Introducing the next generation to the “Traditional values with which we all grew up” is invaluable by any measures to many community members.
As you all know, Fr. Jobymon Joseph Chelakunnel, Vicar of the Raleigh (Lourdes Matha Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Apex, NC) has been coming to St. Matthew Church in Ballantyne to celebrate Malayalam mass on first Sunday of every month. The location and mass timing (2.00 PM) is not convenient for majority of the community members. But for those who are able to attend the mass are very thankful for the generosity of the St. Matthew church to share their facility to a totally foreign culture group, majority of them are not even registered with their church.
When Fr. Jobymon Joseph Chelakunnel sensed the feelings of the Charlotte community, he asked the opinion of the community members about the possibility of having our own church in a convenient location for everyone. Majority of the Catholic families live either in North or South side of uptown, and hence a church somewhere near uptown would be convenient for majority of the community members.
An initial search found few church buildings that were available for sale within reasonable distance from uptown Charlotte. Some of them were located in less desirable areas and community members rejected them. One partially completed church building, near the intersection of the South Blvd and the Arrowood road became one of the favorites.
Move towards purchasing a church building.
The news spread very fast about this building and everybody who heard about the facility agreed that the opportunity to buy a church This church building has permit to seat approx. 450 people and will have 130 parking spaces. Because the building was closed for long period of time, it got exposed to some degree of vandalism.
Fr. Paul Chalissery and Fr. Jobymon Joseph Chelakunnel called a General body meeting and subsequently a series of meetings were conducted with community members to discuss the possibility of purchasing this property. In the general body meeting, a committee was formed to investigate the feasibility of moving forward with the acquisition of this facility. In one of the committee meetings, we decided to form different sub committees for real estate, finance, religious activities, communications, etc.
The committee agreed to move forward & Our Bishop Mar Jacob Angadiath signed contract on 10-23-2014, with a 90-day due diligence period and 30 days to close. The 2 acres land next to the building is available for sale and they have an easement right to the side of the current church building. The easement right on the title for the church created zoning and permit issues, so the committee members felt it is better for the church and future expansion plans to purchase this 2-acre land as well. The total project cost is estimated to be around $1 million including the 2 acres land and construction costs.