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St. Columbkille Catholic Church held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new parish center Aug. 12, with Papillion city leaders and representatives from the parish and Archdiocese of Omaha in attendance.

Omaha Archbishop George Lucas didn’t think it was a bad thing rain pushed the groundbreaking ceremony for St. Columbkille Catholic Church’s new parish center into the school’s gym.

You need water to grow, after all.

St. Columbkille is a rapidly growing parish and the Aug. 12 ceremony celebrated the beginning of work on the new center, which will cost $8.2 million and will include a multipurpose gym, meeting rooms, a preschool and day care. The church has pledges for $6.1 million and is also spending around $1 million on renovations to the parish social hall.

Papillion Mayor David Black pointed to similarities between the city and the church — both are facing growth, both are building community centers, both want to keep their small feel — which were founded only eight years apart and want to retain the values that make them appealing communities.

“If we can think consciously about those things and what makes us a community, we can keep those values even as we grow,” he said.

Both Papillion’s and the parish’s centers will be places for the community to come together, Black said, and the new parish center will be a welcome addition to the city’s 150th celebration next fall when it opens.

Fr. Dave Reeson, pastor of St. Columbkille, thanked parishioners and church leaders for their support and generosity.

“The church is not really a building, it’s people, and we certainly have a great number of gifted and generous people,” he said.

More than 3,300 families and 10,000 parishioners attend St. Columbkille, the fourth largest in the Omaha Archdiocese.

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