GR church building ‘Arch of Hope’ for unity

Grand Rapids
st francis xavier unity groundbreaking

People gather to break ground on a new “Arch of Hope,” which is meant to be a symbol of unity, at the Shrine of St. Francis Xavier & Our Lady of Guadalupe in Grand Rapids. (Sept. 15, 2019)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Ground was broken Sunday morning on a new ‘Arch of Hope’ meant to welcome people to a Grand Rapids church.

Dozens of people celebrated the start of construction with food, music and prayers at the Shrine St. Francis Xavier and Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Roman Catholic church on Griggs Street SE near Madison Avenue.

Church leaders say the arch represents the compassion that community members should have for one another. Rev. Jose Quintana, the church’s pastor, said he hopes the message resonates not only with his parish, but also with others.

“I hope that they feel proud of this parish community, that they feel proud of being in this neighborhood,” he said. “That’s the power of an arch: connect beyond.”

St Francis Xavier Arch of Hope rendering
A courtesy rendering of the Arch of Hope at the Shrine of St. Francis Xavier and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Grand Rapids.

Earlier, in a release from the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids, Quintana explained that the arch is meant to “showcase the connection between the Hispanic/Latino and Caucasian communities in the parish. It will be a sign of hope, hospitality, love, and unity, opposite of what a wall symbolizes.”  

The project has been in the works since 2015. About $200,000 was raised through fundraisers and donations.

st francis xavier unity groundbreaking
People gather to break ground on a new “Arch of Hope,” which is meant to be a symbol of unity, at the Shrine of St. Francis Xavier & Our Lady of Guadalupe in Grand Rapids. (Sept. 15, 2019)

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