As much for nostalgia as anything else, many St. John Fisher parishioners attended the Oct. 26 8 a.m. Mass at the “old church” before waiting more than an hour in front of the new church building next door, on the corner of Crest Road and Crenshaw Boulevard in Rancho Palos Verdes.“Here is where my two children were baptized and did all their sacraments, it’s where we held my husband’s funeral,” said one parishioner inside the old building, which will now become the youth center, featuring a book and gift store. “We’ll miss the old one. But we’re excited about the new one, which was built in a whole modern interesting ‘in the round’ concept.”The new 870-seat church, dedicated last weekend, is described by building committee chair Lisa Counts as “a cutting-edge 21st Century design.” It features several fish-shaped elements, including the baptismal font, the tabernacle, and the giant windows behind the altar.“This is a tribute to what this parish has to offer here on the hill,” said parishioner Dr. John Tsao about the new building, while standing close to the door with wife Kiyo. Members of the parish since 1967, the Tsaos were among the longtime parishioners and generous contributors who were about to witness the culmination of their efforts on this sunny fall Saturday.As the doors opened about 45 minutes before the dedication Mass started, people hurried to take their seats under the silent gaze of the Eucharistic Christ and others depicted on the giant stained glass windows that grace the main entrance depicting the Seven Sacraments, a creation of liturgical artist Isabel Piczek that previously adorned the old church. In pre-liturgy ceremonies, Archbishop José Gomez, who presided, thanked benefactors and was presented with the building plans, the book of donors and the book of the building project, as well as the building keys. He in turn handed the keys to Msgr. David Sork, pastor, igniting sustained applause from parishioners. In his homily, the archbishop reminded the assembly that the building, no matter how beautiful, is secondary to the work and presence of the people it serves.“This dedication reflects what the meaning of church is,” he said. “This church is the place where we gather as the family of God, this beautiful church is the place where you come to bless God, this will be the place where you receive strength to meet his commands. We are called, all of us, to proclaim Jesus.” Citing the Gospel of John, he reminded the assembly that the church is more than what happens within its walls. It is “also you and me,” he said. “The God we worship here in this place wants us to worship him everywhere, at all times.” He encouraged the assembly to worship God at home, in the office, in workplaces and at school. And he urged parishioners to go out and proclaim Jesus Christ with compassion and mercy to those who have “quit or are indifferent.”Minutes before the homily, Archbishop Gomez blessed the baptismal font located in front of the main entrance inside the sanctuary. The ceremony included the anointing of the altar table and each of the church walls by concelebrants Cardinal Roger Mahony, Bishop Armando Ochoa of Fresno, Auxiliary Bishop Gerald Wilkerson and retired Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Sartoris.In closing remarks, Msgr. Sork said the new building was the result of pastoral council meeting proposals after brainstorming ideas on how to build a Church of the 21st Century, attending a call made by Cardinal Mahony in his role as Archbishop of Los Angeles, in response to Vatican II.He also reiterated the importance of seeing beyond the building. “This is not just a building, this is a living community,” the priest said, and mentioned how as the new building developed, the idea of a whole area of social justice also developed. “We are not an isolated community; we are called to reach beyond, to reach out to all Catholics who have drifted away,” he said.He highlighted the commitment of St. John Fisher community in assisting its sister parish, Sagrado Corazón y Santa María de Guadalupe in Cudahy, in the building of their new church. If plans go well, construction could start in early 2014.An open house at St. John Fisher has been set for Nov. 3. Pastoral council members and staff said many neighbors have already RSVP’d, including those who have left the church or who have never attended.“This is a turning point,” said pastoral council and dedication committee member Nelma FitzGerald. “The new building could inspire people to join the church.”For more information about St. John Fisher’s open house, call Gayle Plecha, parish business administrator, at (310) 377-5571.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/1101/fisher/{/gallery}