|Bishop David Choby celebrated the first Mass at the new building for the Church of the Nativity Parish in Spring Hill on Saturday, March 19. The building, which includes a worship space, offices and classroom, was blessed during the Mass. It is the first permanent building for the parish, which has been meeting in converted space in a strip mall since it was established in 2008. Photos by Andy Telli
Atop the new Church of the Nativity building is a large star, and when it’s lit at night, it beckons the Catholic community of Spring Hill just as the star led the three wisemen to Bethlehem for Christ’s birth.
On Saturday, March 19, the eve of Palm Sunday, the community gathered for the first Mass celebrated in its new building on Buckner Lane across from Summit High School. It’s the first permanent home for the parish that was founded in 2008.
“I think it’s magnificent,” Bill Pogge, a Nativity parishioner and a member of the parish’s Building Committee, said of the new building. “God has been good to us.”
The two-story structure has room for about 500 people for liturgies, office space, 10 classrooms, and a gathering space with a full-service kitchen. The parking lot has room for 250 cars.
Bishop David Choby was on hand to concelebrate the first Mass in the new building with Father John Kirk, pastor of the Church of the Nativity. During the Mass, Father Kirk walked throughout the worship space blessing it and the people with holy water.
In his homily, Bishop Choby recalled that the parish celebrated its first Mass on Christmas Eve in 2008. “The birth of this parish is associated with the very birth of our Lord Jesus,” he said.
“We pray this place will be a place of constant blessings,” Bishop Choby said.
He expressed his gratitude to Father Kirk. “This place would not exist without him and his dogged persistence,” Bishop Choby said.
“This is an important beginning and moment in the life of the parish,” Bishop Choby said, noting that the area is growing and will continue to grow.
When the bishop met with people in the area about establishing a parish in Spring Hill, “he had a vision of what would happen down here,” recalled Ron Yates, a member of the Building Committee. “And it’s becoming a reality.”
|Nativity Pastor Father John Kirk blesses the building and the congregation during the Mass.
New subdivisions are popping up throughout southern Williamson County and northern Maury County. “We’ll outgrow this space the way the area is growing,” Father Kirk said. “There are more Catholics in the area that we can reach out to. They’ll surface with the new building.”
The parish has about 675 registered families, Pogge said. “We think it’s going to be around 800 families within three years,” he said. “There are so many Catholics moving into the area. We expect this to grow dramatically.”
Since it was established in 2008, the parish has been using renovated commercial and office space in the Shoppes of Campbell Station in Spring Hill. “I think that drove a lot of people away,” Pogge said. “They wanted a more authentic church.”
“It’s going to attract new people,” Carmen Oberman, a parishioner since Nativity was established, said of the new building. She noted that she saw several new people at the first Mass.
“Build it and they will come,” agreed her friend and fellow parishioner Yolanda Miranda.
A growing parish will mean the parish’s ministries can also grow, Pogge said. “There’s a lot of wonderful talent in the parish,” he said. “People are anxious to be involved.”
Parishioners are excited about the new building, Father Kirk said. He credited the parishioners for making it a reality. “There are so many good people in the parish who did so much,” he said. The Building Committee “worked practically full time on it.”
|Nativity Pastor Father John Kirk blesses the building and the congregation during the Mass. Above, Bishop Choby leads a prayer during the Mass.
The building was designed by Tom Bauer of Bauer Askew Archtiture of Nashville, and the Carter Group of Nashville, led by Lee Carter, served as the contractor for the project.
“Tom designed a very beautiful building, and Lee built a very beautiful building,” said Bob Zak, another member of the building committee. “I’ve heard a lot of nice compliments already,” he added.
“It feels like a place where we can be a family,” said Cindy Palmer, a parishioner since the beginning.
The master plan for the property calls for the construction of a larger church on the site in the future and the conversion of the first building into a parish hall.
“I have a feeling they’ll be building the real church real soon,” said parishioner Mike Palmer. “It’s exciting.”