St. Isidore’s Catholic Student Center to rebuild chapel to accommodate worshipers

St. Isidore's Catholic Student Center on May 2, 2019. St. Isidore’s Catholic Student Center has plans for a new space in the works in the hopes of accommodating the number of worshipers that come to the chapel. (Kate Torline | Collegian Media Group)

St. Isidore’s Catholic Student Center is usually bursting at the seams during Mass, but there are plans in the works to ameliorate that with the New Church Project.

“The major impetus for building a new church is space,” Nate Hoffman, stewardship director of St. Isidore’s, said. “Many weekends we simply do not have enough room in the chapel to seat all who come to worship. We hope to give everyone who comes to St. Isidore’s an opportunity to pray inside the chapel with the rest of the community.”

The facility, which currently resides on the northwest corner of Anderson Avenue and Denison Avenue, will undergo two phases of construction.

The first will consist of an entire renovation of the student center which includes a new kitchen and a larger meeting hall, set to be done by the end of 2020. The larger meeting hall is where the organization holds dinners, speakers and events. The second phase will completely rebuild the chapel by spring 2021.

St. Isidore’s, which is 100 percent donation based, has several supporters for its various events and efforts, Hoffman said.

“We also have an incredible community of alumni, parents of college students and friends of St. Isidore’s who supported our capital campaign in a huge way,” he said. “Our students are certainly generous as well, though they are usually strapped for cash.”

Jake Hoover, junior in kinesiology, said expanding their space was a good idea for the church, as well as the students who attend the church.

“I think it’s a great idea to expand because the masses are always packed, and the addition of more space would be welcome to me,” Hoover said. “It’s both beneficial to me personally and as a group, because the more room means a larger group of people can gather and it provides more opportunities for me to start getting more involved.”

Besides providing more opportunities, Hoffman said the campaign to rebuild the chapel and student center renovations are secondary to their continuous mission: bringing students to Jesus Christ.

“As our pastor Fr. Gale [Hammerschmidt] has reminded us from the beginning of this campaign, building a new church and renovating the student center is not the most important thing we have to do here at St. Isidore’s,” Hoffman said. “Our first goal is always to help bring more students to Jesus Christ. A newer, larger and more beautiful church is only a means to that end.”