Groundbreaking for St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Life Center

The ceremonial ground breaking included (from left) Brian Smith, Mike Froelich, Charlie Bourgeois, Herman Manuel, John Denny, Dr. Gary Luffey, Angela Luffey, Joseph Luffey, Jan Luffey, Father Frank Folino, Ron Barron, Rodney Manning and Peter Gallagher.

On December 6, 2013, a large crowd of Parishioners gathered during a noon-time ceremony under a tent across the street from St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Ruston to participate in the ground breaking for the Joe & Roger Luffey Catholic Life Center.  In spite of the rain and cold, many attended as our pastor, Fr. Frank Folino, presented a dedication prayer followed by a ceremonial golden shovel photo session and a delicious luncheon to celebrate the initiation of our new building construction. This fine facility is to be named in memory of the two deceased sons of Dr. Gary Luffey and his wife Jan.

The new building is being erected on the site of the St. Francis Building, which originally served as an elementary school and later as Sunday school classrooms prior to its demolition in October 2012.  This new facility will serve as a central focus for the St. Thomas community.  It is to include administrative offices for the parish, a conference room, youth activity and meeting room, youth director’s office, a large multi-purpose room (basketball, meeting, special functions, etc.), a fully-functional commercial kitchen, restrooms with bride’s dressing room and a storage/copy room.

Although the planning and fundraising process has spanned nearly 10 years, we anticipate completion and dedication within the next 12 months. With this addition to our parish, the student center will be officially turned over to the use for which it was originally designed: the Catholic Students of Louisiana Tech University. That building had been serving as our parish office and activity center for years, since we had no alternative space for these functions. We envision having the new facility usher in a new era for the St. Thomas Catholic community, a place where all are welcome!

by Peter Gallagher

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