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Forsyth County's largest Catholic church wants to give the area a new landmark
FCN St. Brendan's Catholic 4 100718
An artist's rendering of the first phase of expansion at St. Brendan's The Navigator Catholic Church.

St. Brendan’s the Navigator Catholic Church broke ground Sunday, Sept. 30, on a new chapel, expanded offices and meeting rooms and a bell tower which the parish hopes to become an iconic part of Cumming’s future landscape.

Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Daniel Gregory joined St. Brendan parishioners to celebrate mass and the groundbreaking celebration that followed.

The first shovels of dirt represented the culmination of more than two years of fundraising. The first phase of the expansion includes a new rustic Irish chapel complete with stained glass windows that support the structure’s resurrection theme. The new chapel will seat 100 people, providing a more intimate setting for adoration, funerals, weddings and other liturgical events.

In addition, two towers will be added to the church’s façade, one of which will feature a real bell operating on a carillon system.

Additional meeting rooms, offices and outdoor spaces will help meet the parish’s desire for places to gather.

Future phases include the construction of a freestanding gymnasium, ministries building and expansion of the main church itself.

“What we are striving for is two-fold: functionality and beauty,” said Pastor Matthew VanSmoorenburg, L.C. in a press release. “While no one can deny the tremendous need for more space for our many community-minded ministries and our exploding faith formation programs, we can’t lose sight of what we are ultimately trying to accomplish: the creation of a beautiful and sacred space to express our faith now and for generations to come.”

The new meeting rooms and offices will feature built-in audio and visual systems that will integrate with digital technology for superior teaching capabilities, comfortable seating, and lighting designed to improve productivity.

Tying it all together, in the main hallway there will be a digital message board informing visitors of the times and locations of the day’s events.

“At the end of the day, we are creating a legacy here,” VanSmoorenburg said. “A place where families for generations to come can gather, can pray, can learn, can grow. It is the first step in St. Brendan’s becoming the city center for the Catholic community.”

Established in June 2000, St. Brendan's is a Roman Catholic parish of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Approximately 3,800 families call St. Brendan's home.