Building Program....Building of a Dream

In 1945, the Church Building Fund was begun. The Utica Sentinel stated in a later article: "Father DeKeyser made a house-to-house visit of the people in this (Utica) area known as St. Lawrence Parish. He pushed doorbells and drove back into the field to speak with the members of the parish to learn how they felt about beginning a fund for the construction of a church and possibly a convent. All were in agreement…." Pledges of $45,000 were made, of which $40,000 was collected.

On May 31, 1947, Daniel P. Bogus was ordained, becoming the first priest from the community. A parish celebration followed his first St. Lawrence Mass. In 1948, an assistant priest was assigned to St. Lawrence Parish for the first time in its history. Father Elmer Nacy served for three years. In June of 1951 he was appointed pastor of a newly-erected parish named in honor of St. Philomena.

The New Convent
On March 19, 1948, ground was broken for a new convent. It was designed by Arthur DesRosiers and built under the supervision of Edward V. Monahan, contractor. Exactly one year later to the day the Sisters moved in. The Architecture was of a Spanish Romanesque style, being both decorative and dignified, and bearing similarities to the rectory and school. Oak floors gleamed with a natural finish. The many rooms included parlors, music room, recreation and storage rooms, kitchen, fruit room, offices, community rooms, and fourteen bedrooms. The Altar Society was responsible for furnishing the chapel and parlors. They purchased the stalls for the chapel and the vestment case in the Sacristy. The statues of our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph were donated by the Sodality of Our Lady, and private donations from parishioners provided Stations of the Cross, a crucifix, a tabernacle and missals.

The Sisters settled into their new abode, and the very next day the first Mass was offered in their new Chapel. On April 2, 1949, the Reverend Mother Gerald, O.P., Mother General of the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, visited the convent. An open house was held for all who desired to tour the Sisters' home.