Finally, entire church 'under one roof'

June 21, 1997


Staff Writer

Over the years, there have been a lot of changes at the intersection where Virginia Avenue and Halfway Boulevard meet - shopping centers, banks, convenience stores.

But through all that growth and tumult, the southwest corner has been able to remain amazingly serene - until recently.

Work on a $1.3 million parish center to the rear of St. Joseph's Catholic Church has been completed, according to Father Keith Boisvert.

Today at 3 p.m., Cardinal William Keeler will bless the building and lead a procession of the faithful to the addition which adjoins the sanctuary at 17630 Virginia Ave.


"Now we will finally be under one roof,'' Boisvert said.

Several adjacent houses had been remodeled over the years into religion classrooms, offices, meeting rooms and other needs of the 400-family parish, Boisvert said.

Those houses will now be remodeled back into living quarters and rented out by the parish - to help pay the mortgage on the new center, Boisvert said.

"Father Kloman Riggie was the vision for this parish center,'' Boisvert said. "We put it into reality.''

Riggie, who served St. Joseph's as associate pastor and pastor for nearly 25 years, died in December before his vision could be realized.

In his honor, the large hall in the parish center has been named Riggie Hall, Boisvert said.

The center also contains a meeting/classroom wing with flexible rooms, a fully equipped kitchen, a small chapel and an office wing.

"The chapel has a beautiful stained glass window that had come from an older church in Baltimore and was sold to a private citizen years ago,'' Boisvert said. The window was obtained from that person and has been installed in the chapel.

Homewood Retirement Center had its beginnings at the site which the church now occupies, Boisvert said. In fact, the congregation moved into the old Homewood buildings at first.

"There was a bell used in the church then that had come from the Western Maryland Railway,'' Boisvert said. It will be on display in the place of honor in the hallway of the new center, he said.

Classrooms for Sunday school will give Denise Dagliano, coordinator of religious education, the space she has needed for so long.

"I believe her old office was actually a closet,'' Boisvert said with a smile.

Boisvert had been at Mount St. Mary's for the past seven years before coming to St. Joseph's to head up the renovation project.

"When it's finished, I will be going to a new church in Frederick,'' Boisvert said.

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