St. Paul Catholic Church in Jacksonville Beach is projected to have a new church building by early 2021.

Bishop Estévez celebrated Mass and broke ground where the new church will be with Father Michael Houle, pastor of St. Paul on Friday, June 7.

According to Father Houle, the new church will seat about 1,200 parishioners, which is almost double what the current church can hold.

“Our parish continues to grow. We have 4,300 families, and we really can’t add anymore Masses. So, we’re hoping that this [new church] will address the growth that has happened and the growth that is to come,” he said.

St. Paul was established as a mission in 1889 and was named a parish in 1923. The current church building was constructed in 1939 to accommodate the quickly growing Catholic population; in the span of about 10 years the number of Catholics grew from 400 to more than 3,500.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Father Houle reminisced on the history of the parish, and looked forward with expectation to the future.

“May what we begin today enliven faith.  May the Lord who has begun this work, bring it to completion.  May we all commit ourselves anew to this legacy of faith begun nearly nine decades ago,” he said.

To learn more, call (904) 249-2600 or email office@stpauljaxbeach.org.