Pictured: Parishioners of Santo Nino de Atocha welcome Bishop Carmody in celebration of groundbreaking ceremony. SUBMITTED PHOTO

An overwhelming joy was visibly seen among the more than 80 parishioners of the Mission Santo Nino de Atocha, as Bishop Edmond Carmody led the procession of parishioners to the location of the site where a new chapel will be erected to the benefit of the residents of the Tecolote and surrounding communities.

Parishioners began recalling that prior to the existing one-room school house style chapel, they gathered to worship in the living room of Ray Ramos. Johnny Vela, one of the original members of the church community was elated to see the next step in the construction of a new church.

"Many individuals have been dreaming of having a church that can accommodate the growing needs of its members, especially having indoor restrooms, air conditioning and a sacristy. Today is truly a wonderful day," Vela said.

The morning began with a beautiful Mass lead by Bishop Carmody where he acknowledged and thanked the previous generation who made it possible for the congregation to be currently gathered to worship in the small chapel. Bishop Carmody reminded the congregation that it would be a joyous opportunity for the next generation to also make sure that future generations have the benefit of a new church to celebrate and worship the Lord.

As the procession moved to the future site of the new church, Fr. Ray Yrlas, Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Mission Santo Nino de Atocha, assisted Bishop Carmody in gathering all the children to assist in breaking ground. Fr. Yrlas said. "The Tecolote community has been diligent in raising money for years so that we would be closer to making this dream a reality in less than a year from now.." Fr. Yrlas reminded the gathered congregants that "they would gather once again to bless the new church where everyone would be welcomed."

During the groundbreaking ceremony, parishioners enjoyed themselves in the beauty of the morning while eating breakfast tacos, pan dulce, fruit, coffee and hot chocolate. The plans for the new church are anticipated to be completed within the year. Anyone interested in making a donation towards making the Santo Nino de Atocha church a reality, may contact Fr. Ray Yrlas for additional information.