OSAGE | The new Sacred Heart Catholic Church building is a blend of the the past, present and future.
Items from the the 90-year-old former church, such as the altar, pews, stained-glass windows and paintings depicting the Stations of the Cross, were incorporated into the new, one-story structure which is more modern and accessible.
Leo Chisholm, co-chairman of the building committee, said he loves the new church, which he described as "bright and cheerful."
"It's probably one of the greatest assets Osage is going to have for many, many years," he said.
The Most Rev. Michael Jackels, archbishop of Dubuque, was the celebrant for the first Mass in the new church on March 2.
Chisholm said the service was "beautiful, magnificent."
Planning for the new church began a decade ago. Chisholm said people were very excited to finally see it done and get their first look inside.
The first Sacred Heart Church in Osage was dedicated in October 1887.
After a fire in January 1928, a new church was built less than a year later. Mass was celebrated there for the first time on Christmas Day, 1928.
Chisholm's father was one of the members of the parish involved in getting that church built. Chisholm, now 88, was baptized and confirmed there.
But as beloved as it was, that church needed to be replaced nearly a century later due to structural needs, including a lack of handicap accessibility.
The church was demolished in September 2017 so work could begin on the new building.
Donations for the new church were raised through a capital campaign with the motto "Remembering Our Past, Building Our Future."
The new building has lots of open space, including a lounge/library area with a fireplace.
The Rev. Raymond Burkle, pastor at Sacred Heart, said this is already encouraging parishioners to "build community" because they have room to chat right after Mass without having to step outside.
A focal point of the new church is the large baptismal font in the open area outside the sanctuary.
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Burkle said the Catholic Church is encouraging the use of these types of fonts, which allow for partial immersion during baptism.
"The most exciting thing for most parishioners was no steps," Burkle said.
Lots of older members of the church really appreciate not having to navigate stairs anymore, according to Burkle.
The high-tech sound, video and projection system in the sanctuary appeals to young people, according to Burkle.
The new building includes office and sacristy spaces, as well as a meeting room that also can be used as a bridal room for weddings.
The church now has handicap accessible restrooms in addition to regular ones.
The fellowship hall, which used to be in the basement of the old church, is now located in the former Sacred Heart School gym.
The gym ceiling was lowered and a large kitchen added during remodeling to create the new fellowship hall, which has better lighting than the old one.
A hallway leads from the church to the fellowship hall.
The former church didn't have enough parking space, so a large parking lot was built for teh new one, according to Burkle.
The cornerstone of the 1928 building is now located in the courtyard of the new church, which will be landscaped along with the rest of the grounds this summer.
A base for the cornerstone was built with bricks saved from the old building.
Dave Mayer, co-chairman of the building committee and a lifelong member of Sacred Heart, said the new church hopefully will attract new families to the parish.
He also said building the church is "kind of paying it forward" to future generations.