The time has come to re-open the doors of San Clemente Parish in Los Lunas. In honor of their brand new home, the Catholic Church will hold a special celebration on Saturday, May 4, from noon to 4 p.m.
It has taken almost a year to complete the $1.5 million renovation and construction of the place of worship, according to Sue Padilla, the church’s business manager.
Padilla has been a part of the church’s rebirth every step of the way.
“It’s a relief to have it all done,” she says, with a smile. “We really want to thank Mike Sims of Sims Construction in Corrales. He was very helpful to work with.”
The new worship hall will seat 850 to 900 people on the new oak pews, compared to 300 before.
“It’s such a beautiful church. So many people’s generosity added to the giving. It’s a miracle.”
A separate cry room for babies will be available at the new church, as well as an additional gathering room in the old parish hall.
Lush carpet and beautiful stone work line the inside of the church. Just past the entrance, the marble cross-shaped baptismal font acts as an artistic, flowing waterfall.
Italian mosaics of the 12 Stations of the Cross decorate the wall. “They are beautifully done. These paintings really make the church stand out,” Padilla says. “The corup and cross are very detailed. In fact, the cross was built by one of our parishioners.”
Increased parking is one popular characteristic of the new church, along with the detailed landscaping.
Outside is a prayer garden where the church hopes to put the old Stations of the Cross. Walk along the stone wall to the quaint courtyard and find a small waterfall and statue of Mary in this tranquil setting.
“It’s a place where people can go and pray. It’s very peaceful,” Padilla says.
For the past 10 months, the church has conducted Mass in the gym across the street, inside Raymond Gabaldon Intermediate. “Our thanks go to them for being so helpful.”
Now that construction is over, members of the congregation can’t wait to move inside, where they can unite as one.
“It’s kind of refreshing to see this new beginning. It’s the right time for this. So many people made sacrifices to make it a reality. Volunteers gave their time every weekend. It’s amazing to work with all these people.”
While the younger kids have just completed Holy Com-munion and confirmation has been made, a whole new generation of churchgoers will make memories inside the church.
“The good thing is that this is going to be a fresh start for all ages.”
With the warm weather upon us, Padilla says, wedding season will play a big part at the new church.
“Father (Rick Zerwas) is very excited. He is grateful to everyone who has given their time, talents and treasures.”
The Archbishop will be at San Clemente for a special dedication of the church on April 13 at 6 p.m.