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Church has plans to grow alongside town
Holy Rosary
The Holy Rosary Parish in Hilmar has plans to expand, with a new church slated for completion in March 2015. The new church, which is expected to accommodate approximately 780 individuals, will be used for weekend services. - photo by ALYSSON AREDAS / The Journal

Although construction for Hilmar’s Holy Rosary Church’s expansion only began this year, the idea of the new church was years in the making.

In 2001, former Bishop of Fresno John Steinbock encouraged the expansion, advising that the parish priests of growing townships to build larger churches to accommodate more people and fewer priests.

The new church, which is slated for completion in March 2015, will accommodate approximately 780 people, 500 more than what current churches hold on average.

Once finished, the addition will be used for weekend services, with the old church remaining for daily Masses and smaller liturgical events.

“I know that a lot of people are relieved because we were told by many people that it will never get built,” said Christopher Freeberg. liturgy chairman of the building committee. “We still have a lot of work to be done, but people have been stepping up to accomplish what needs to be done.”

In order to pay for  the new church, Holy Rosary has hosted fundraising campaigns, as well as received generous donations from community members. Although the church is no longer actively asking for money, individuals have still stepped up in order to fund the new building.

“People know what needs to be done and generous people will continue to participate,” said Freeberg.

The church is also looking to purchase stained glass windows from Pennsylvania that are over 100 years old. Freeberg, who traveled to see the windows himself in April, said that the Munich-style windows are very detailed, colorful, and convey beautiful scenes.

“We want to make sure that we are able to obtain these stain glass windows,” said Freeberg. “We are getting close. People that don’t even go to our parish have contributed because they have seen the photos and the quality of the art.”