St. John the Evangelist Catholic Community announced new growth plans for its parishioners that will begin Sunday, Sept. 26.

Rev. John Britto Antony, pastor of the Vierachurch, announced the $3.1 million project during Masses celebrated Sept. 5 and in an email to all parishioners.

Father Antony said the Master Plan Development Project is divided into two phases: 

Phase 1

• Connector road to Lake Andrew Drive

• Handicap parking/drop-off improvement in front of the courtyard

• New hardscape in front of the church

• Two covered pavilions in front of the church

• Covered walkway connector

• Covered drop-off on the east side of the church

• New well for additional watering

Phase 2

• Construction of a Grotto

• Added Stations of the Cross

• Statue of St. Michael the Archangel

Antony said the approximate costs of the two phases is $3,105,500. However, as a result of the financial generosity of its parishioners and careful stewardship of the church’s finances, the church was able to transfer $1.78 million to these new projects.“The remaining balance for us to raise is approximately $1,325,500,” Antony said. “Please note that due to current labor force issues, the increase in cost of materials and/or non-availability, this final figure could vary. With God's unfailingly goodness and mercy and with your continued support and generosity we will accomplish our goal together.”

Antony said the new growth plan became possible because the church was able to pay off the balance of its loan and 15-year mortgage from the Diocese of Orlando for the construction of the new church in three years.The current loan from the diocese was in the amount of $110,866.01.

On Sunday, Sept. 26, Antony said Bishop John Noonan of the Orlando diocese will celebrate Mass and later burn the mortgage and bless the grounds for the new projects in an outdoor ceremony.

Project construction begins the next day, Monday, Sept. 27. Certified General Contractors of Melbourne is the construction company, while CPH Corp. of Sanford is the engineering firm and Lyman, Davidson and Dooley in Atlanta is the architect.

Antony hopes the projects are completed by Easter Sunday, April 17, 2022.

“I am very proud to be serving our community,” Antony said. “I am deeply humbled and blessed to worship with you and minister to you in the service of God, the singular joy of my life and my vocation. With utmost gratitude, I thank you for your unfailing dedication, extraordinary generosity and commitment to serving God andneighbor that inspire me every day.”

One of the unique parts of the growth plan is the outdoor construction of the grotto.

Modeled after the grotto that was built after the Blessed Virgin Mary’s appearance to Bernadette in Lourdes, France, the grotto also will contain the 14 Stations of the Cross, depicting the Journey of Jesus Christ to Calvary, and a statute of St. Michael the Archangel. Outdoor Masses and other services also can be celebrated at the grotto.

“Catholics have a great devotion to Mary,” Antony said. “This grotto will give our community a chance to sit, mediate and pray the Rosary. We want to designate this area as a prayerful garden.”

Another significant project is the construction of a two-way road from the church property to Lake Andrew Drive. The church will build, maintain, and service it. “It will help us ease the traffic around the church,” Antony said.

When the St. John community in Viera began in 2001, there was 200 families. Today, Antony said there are more than 2,600 families and growing.

Antony said some future projects he would like the parish to consider include expansion of the community hall, more classrooms, thecnstruction of a rectory, a pavilion for recreational activities and a ministry building.

“God has been good to us,” the pastor said.