June 10, 2015
An excerpt from a Houston Chronicle article published June 10, 2015
As Saints Simon and Jude completes its expansion, another Woodlands Catholic church, St. Anthony of Padua, is launching a $22 million capital campaign to add parking, a multi-purpose building and a 350-seat chapel. St. Anthony has grown from 4,300 families in 2010 to 5,700 this year. At the most well-attended services, the 386 parking spots are insufficient, leading about 70 cars to park illegally on the grass beside Kuykendahl Road each weekend.
The initial funding goal of $14.7 million will go toward the parking expansion, the two-story building, which will add space for youth programs that serve about 3,500 children, a new food pantry, a cafeteria and sports fields for St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School.
The additional $7.3 million will go toward the chapel. Fr. Tom Rafferty, the church's pastor, said that the church is often overbooked on weekends for the celebration of sacraments, such as baptisms, weddings and funerals. The addition of a chapel would allow more availability for weddings and funerals, he said.
Fr. Rafferty added that the goal of this expansion is to better equip the church to minister to existing members, as well as reach out to The Woodlands community, which he described as "dynamic."
"We want to engage in a fuller way the people on the fringes," he said. "(And) to reach out to the community as well. I would love for our church to be a place for any person seeking the presence of God."