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Construction begins on parish center

A groundbreaking ceremony took place on Monday for the new Parish Life Center for the Ironton Catholic Community.

The facility, which will be located across the street from St. Joseph High School at the intersection of South Fifth and Quincy streets, will house a gymnasium, basketball court and seating, concession area, weight room, a meeting room and more, with the larger gym spaced designed to accommodate the growing fan base for the schools’ athletic teams.

Completion of construction, a $2.2 million project by Mullin Construction Co., is expected by the fall.

At about noon, students from Ironton’s Catholic schools began filing across the street in a procession, followed by Bishop Jeffrey Monforton, of the Catholic Diocese of Steubenville, which covers Lawrence County, as well as Father David Huffman, the pastor of the Ironton/Pine Grove Catholic Community.

Monforton, who was in town for the local celebration of Catholic Schools Week, conducted a mass with the students prior to the groundbreaking and took part in a lunch with the gathering afterward.

“Let me ask you again, ‘Does God have a plan for you?’” Monforton asked the crowd of students, who replied with a resounding “Yes.”

He blessed the ground for the center, and led the gathering in prayer, telling them that the Book of Psalms says that they are “God’s co-workers.”

“The work we are beginning today should enliven our faith,” he said. “Let us pray for the help God will bring to the construction to see completion and that his protection will keep those who work on it safe.”