After a nine-year planning process and more than five years of fundraising for construction of three new buildings and a parking garage, St. Monica Church officially opened its new facilities Nov. 3, with a building dedication and Mass.Following the Mass with Archbishop José Gomez presiding, the parish hosted a reception and tours of the facilities, live entertainment by the Phil Cordaro Jazz Trio, and a food festival with local area restaurants.“This is the day we have all been waiting for.” said Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson, pastor. “God has graced our parish with the faithful whose numbers have increased, challenging our ability to welcome and serve them properly. These great facilities will allow us to answer the Gospel challenge in new and exciting ways as we form loving disciples who will transform the world.”The new facilities include the Tina and Rick Caruso Community Center, Grand Pavilion and Grand Patio, the Carol G. Simon Child and Student Center, and a two-and-a-half level subterranean parking garage. Collectively, they add 103,647 square feet to the St. Monica campus.The Caruso Community Center features 17,600 square feet of assembly and meeting spaces (available for rental by the general public), administrative offices, the St. André Bessette Chapel, Holy Grounds, a new coffee bar and religious gifts/bookstore, and dedicated space for Hope at the Door, a ministry for the needy in the local community. Below the community center is the parking garage with 175 parking spaces. In line with St. Monica’s stewardship goals, this building is striving for Silver Level LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The St. André Bessette Chapel, located on the corner of Lincoln and California Avenue, features the Pillar of Light, a translucent window tower that is the project’s most prominent architectural feature and a second visual signature, after the church’s bell tower. The Grand Pavilion, open for assemblies during the day and receptions at night and on weekends, provides seating for up to 450 and is available for rental by the general public.The Carol G. Simon Child and Student Center will be used exclusively by St. Monica Catholic Elementary School for before and after-school programs and as a classroom during school days.Holy Grounds will be open to the general public seven days a week and will include a gift/book shop and a coffee bar that will feature fair trade coffee from Urth Caffe in Santa Monica.To date, St. Monica Catholic Community has raised over $28 million toward this building project through a fundraising campaign titled “Celebrating Our Blessings, Building Our Future, Together.” The Nov. 3 dedication marked completion of the first phase of the two-phase project which also included renovation of the existing St. Monica High School gymnasium, which was completed in December 2011. The second phase will include renovations to the basement of the gym along with a new schoolyard scheduled for completion in the summer of 2014.Since 1994, the parish at St. Monica has nearly tripled in size to more than 8,000 registered households, from throughout the greater Los Angeles area, making it one of the largest parishes in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. These new facilities are designed to accommodate this previous growth and not for the parish to grow larger. St. Monica Catholic Community includes the church (founded in 1886 and at its current location since 1926), St. Monica High School and St. Monica Elementary School. More information can be found at and on Facebook at{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/1108/stmonica/{/gallery}