Renovations Blessed at Geneva Parish
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 13, 2022
GENEVA—Great things happen when a community works together for a good cause, which is the case of St. Peter Parish, according to Melinda Bernhard, part of the campaign team that helped raise funds to renovate the parish.
Those completed renovations were celebrated and blessed at Sunday Mass said by Bishop David Malloy along with St. Peter’s pastor, Father Jonathan Bakkelund on Jan. 9.
Bishop Malloy began the 11 a.m. Mass by expressing his gratitude to “Father and frankly to the whole parish … it is not often that I have the chance to do the blessings of a newly renovated church.” He highlighted “the beauty of the spirituality” that was added in the renovation. 
Bishop Malloy went on to say “we are here today … on the celebration of the baptism of the Lord … the last day of Christmas season,” emphasizing the relevance of the Baptism. “Christ has taken all our humanity, all our sins upon Himself in baptism. Christ is baptized not for Himself but for us,” Bishop Malloy said. 
He also referred to the contribution of immigrants to the diocese, “the first generation built, next generations repaired, and next generations would renovate.”
Intertwined with the Mass, the bishop blessed different parts of the altar. He started by blessing the presidential chair, where priests will be seated and will preside over the celebration of Mass. He also blessed the tabernacle and statues near the altar.
One of the most striking changes is the blue interior ceiling adorned with golden stars. The ceiling is “beautiful, we love the new ceiling changes, and I have to agree with the bishop, the stars and the sky is definitely one of my favorite parts,” said Scott Passman, parishioner for eight years. Passman said he remembered the time when “everybody used to have the big buckets after a big rain; it is nice to have all that fixed up now.” 
Father Bakkelund explained the extent of the renovations saying, “We started with the roof, then we did the interior of the church, and the final piece was the HVAC system. Now we can stay dry and warm and pray.” 
Bernhard and her family, as part of the campaign team said “we personally visited parish families …
 This is important, we have to protect this, and preserve it and make it better for future generations.” Bernhard is also Adult Formation Coordinator at St. Peter Parish and has been a parishioner there for 29 years. 
Among the Mass goers was Jodi Rippon, diocesan Director of Financial and Administrative Services. “Being present for the blessing of the beautifully renovated church at St. Peter Church, Geneva, was an honor. Parishioners and visitors will enjoy this beautiful worship space for many years to come,” she said.
 “We were just very excited Bishop Malloy came out for this historic moment in the life of our parish, and we can celebrate together for adoration and prayer of almighty God. It’s a great day,” Father Bakkelund said.
During that sunny but slippery winter morning, Father Bakkelund spoke at the end of the Mass to about 300 parishioners in the church and to those who were viewing the Mass on the parish YouTube channel to give his thanks to all those who, in one way or another, contributed to the renovations.
St. Peter Parish was founded in 1911 with a church constructed to seat about 100. The current church building was constructed and dedicated in 1993 and seats about 1,200. The church campus also includes a parish center, school and adoration chapel. The church is currently home to more than 2,500 families. 


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