A dream several years in the making to create a community hub in Westmont is soon to be realized for Holy Trinity Catholic Church.
The church is within reach of breaking ground this fall on a 10,000-square-foot parish center near the corner of Cass Avenue and Richmond Street that will include space for a banquet hall/high school-sized gymnasium, full kitchen and a second-story atrium with office and meeting space, according to a news release.
“This is going to be a great asset,” said Christopher Simon, director of communications and development for Holy Trinity Catholic Parish.
To date, more than $4 million has been raised in cash and pledges for the facility, including a generous donation by parishioners Roy and Elizabeth Lizzio. The project’s price tag is expected to be about $4.5 million, and Holy Trinity plans to secure a loan for the remaining amount.
Roy Lizzio died from brain cancer in July 2020.
“My husband and I always wanted to see the parish center built during our lifetimes,” Elizabeth Lizzio said. “While he won’t be with us to see the project completed, I am looking forward to witnessing the groundbreaking in my lifetime.”
Church officials expect an early 2024 completion date.
Holy Trinity Church is at 25 E. Richmond St. The new building will connect to Holy Trinity Catholic School, 108 S. Linden Ave., at the southeast corner of the property.
The facility will benefit more than just the Holy Trinity congregation, which is what former Bishop R. Daniel Conlon of the Diocese of Joliet advised when he visited in 2018 and met with members of the parish council.
“He said, ‘If you’re building this just for your own use, don’t bother. It needs to be something all of Westmont and beyond can use as a hub to bring people into it,’” Simon said. “That’s truly the mission with this building and why we’ve yearned for it so long. It fits a lot of needs and it fits a lot of wants.”
The Holy Trinity Parish Center’s main hall/gymnasium will include a basketball court and a volleyball court, a stage, bleacher seating for 200 and banquet seating for 320, according to church documents.
Church officials expect the facility will be used to host meetings, school and local theater performances, special occasions such as dinners and wedding receptions, as well as parish and community multi-sport competition games and local events.
“The parish center will not only be a benefit to the parish community, but with the new space for all of Holy Trinity Catholic parish’s ministries, we hope the new addition will also be an evangelization center for our local community in the village of Westmont,” said the Rev. Rafal Wasilewski, pastor of Holy Trinity.
Simon said the space “is going to be a game changer” for Holy Trinity Catholic School, which does not have its own gymnasium.
“And the parish has desperately needed a large gathering space and full kitchen for our social and spiritual activities. We’ve never really had the opportunity or space for some of these things that we’ll now be able to do in a 10,000-square-foot facility,” he said.
Holy Trinity Catholic School serves about 400 students from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade. Regular church attendees represent more than 900 registered parishioner families from several nearby towns, according to church documents.
Westmont Mayor Ron Gunter is one of those parishioners and has been since his move to the village in 1977.
“I am extremely excited on behalf of our church to learn about this generous donation to Holy Trinity,” he said in a news release. “I know how important this project is to the church and wish them well as they continue planning for the new parish center.”
More information about the project can be found at https://www.holytrinitywestmont.org/support-us/parish-center.