For more than 50 years, the “church on the hill” in Rancho Palos Verdes hid behind trees, making it difficult to find. No more.The new St. John Fisher Church, in its final construction phase, is located at the corner of Crest Road and Crenshaw Boulevard, where it can be easily seen by passers-by. In fact, at 74 feet tall at its highest point — a steel cross — the building will be the tallest in the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Its increased visibility will enhance the welcoming environment parishioners hope to build with the new church, whose anticipated dedication is expected to be in the fall, said Gayle Plecha, parish business administrator. An open house for the community is also planned so that all may get a close look at the new 870-seat church, whose circular interior space will enable everyone to sit nearer to the front. A fish-shaped baptismal pond will welcome the assembly at the building’s east entrance. The east side also features a Blessed Mother chapel and confessionary; on the west side is the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, to be open daily until 9 p.m. and all night long every first Friday of the month. The space will have an “intimate setting,” with ten chairs, “for silent Eucharistic adoration only,” said Msgr. David Sork, pastor.Also inside the church, the corpus on the crucifix will feature a wood-carved Christ looking up to the sky, and wooden Stations of the Cross specially crafted in Italy. Light flows through the windows, strategically located in the sacristy (many times larger than the “closet-size” sacristy of the old church) and throughout, for safety of parishioners, especially the young, said Msgr. Sork.Outside, parishioners may gather in a new plaza, and walk an outdoor path with Stations of the Cross. A columbarium for the interment of ashes of deceased church members and their immediate families offers 456 niches.Fundraising for the new church started in 2006 after its 50-year-old church developed electrical, water and other utilities problems, resulting in costly repairs. Additionally, the parish simply outgrew the old church; more than 80 ministry groups at St. John Fisher involve more than 1,500 volunteers (see page 8).Once the new church opens its doors, the old building will be remodeled into an activity center, housing among others, the youth ministry, which currently meets in an office.The fundraising for the new St. John Fisher Church is also contributing to another new church being built almost 30 miles away. More than $600,000 from St. John Fisher’s capital campaign has been donated to sister parish Sagrado Corazón y Santa María de Guadalupe in Cudahy, as per a parish commitment made when St. John Fisher’s fundraising efforts began. More funds will be donated to Sagrado Corazón in the future, said Plecha, as well as the pews from the old St. John Fisher Church. The Cudahy parish, in a very different economic neighborhood, has for years celebrated Mass in a semi-outdoor, covered portion of its parking lot exposed to summer heat and winter rain.Such outreach connects well to the generous spirit of the parish, say officials, a spirit acknowledged in a statement on its website “building project” page: “Almost 50 years ago parishioners sacrificed and dedicated their time and treasure to leaving us this beautiful campus. We now have a chance to build on what we have received for Catholics today and tomorrow.”Adds pastoral council member Keith Kamholz: “This is just the beginning of the second 50 years.”For more information about St. John Fisher’s building project, visit, or call (310) 377-5571, extension 106.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0621/spsjf/{/gallery}