Home Marlton News Back to the beginning at St. Joan of Arc’s in Marlton

Back to the beginning at St. Joan of Arc’s in Marlton

A gymnasium by weekday and a church by weekend?

It seems like St. Joan of Arc Parish should patent their new “churchnasium” idea and make millions selling it across the country.

The Catholic parish is returning to its roots and holding Mass for the next four to six weeks in its school’s gymnasium, while the main church is going through some extensive refurbishments.

The site of the gymnasium is where the original church at St. Joan of Arc’s was built, nearly 50 years ago when the parish was created.

The Rev. Rich LaVerghetta said the church held its first Mass in the gymnasium two weeks ago and seeing the congregation’s eyes light up as they returned to the original church location was fantastic.

“It’s been exciting for a lot of people to go back to their roots, to where it all began, to where they’ve grown together. So many people were married there, where their loved ones were buried at that space,” he said. “It holds a lot of sacred memories. It’s fun to watch them as their eyes light up when they come back.”

The current church, built in 1988, is undergoing about $1 million in refurbishments, LaVerghetta said.

The church will be getting new carpet, new tiles and all new flooring, he said, along with a new HVAC system and heater.

But until the work is completed, the “churchnasium” as it is being called, will be the main worshipping location for the large parish community.

“The original church was in what is now the school gymnasium. That’s where they worshipped in the beginning years of the church up until 1988. In 1988, the current church was built. It really was a beautiful church actually; it’s kind of nostalgic to be back,” LaVerghetta said. “It’s great to see the faces of a lot of people who haven’t been back since then. Some were even telling me about their weddings that were held in the old church.”

The St. Joan of Arc Parish is within the four-county Diocese of Trenton under the leadership of Bishop John Smith.

According to church representatives, the parish was established in 1961 and currently includes over 4,000 families. Presently the pastor, one parochial vicar, and four permanent deacons serve the parish.

The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia serve the parish in both pastoral and educational positions, according to the church’s website.

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