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Introducing a Church Designed to Support the Community

By Elisha Neubauer

In the late 1950s, with the organization of what was to become the Kennedy Space Center, an influx of young families began to move into the Brevard area in anticipation. Of course, with a new government agency, there would be a mass amount of jobs available. With new jobs and new families, that would mean new church goers. To accommodate this sudden rise in population, several parishes were opened in the area. One of the churches opened during the rush was the Ascension Catholic Church. Opening its doors to the general public in November of 1959, the Church has been reaching out to the neighborhood ever since.

"Ascension seeks to serve the community in its outreach in many and various ways," states Mary Birmingham, Director of Music, Liturgy and Christian Initiation. "Our social concerns office assists 20,000 persons in need in our local area." The Church also assists the world's poor by donating over a half a million dollars annually. "Our very generous community has supported the construction of schools, churches, water treatment systems and a bridge in Third World countries," she says. In addition to funding, the Church supports Habitat for Humanity and has aided in the construction of several houses, they host an off-campus thrift store, as well as a food pantry and daily bread soup kitchen.

Aside from aiding the needy, Ascension strives to bring a community feel into the walls of the Church. "We are a large community with many small faith sharing communities to help people get and stay connected to the wider parish family," explains Birmingham. "We want people to feel welcomed so we greet one another before Mass begins." In addition to a warm welcome, donuts and coffee are offered Sunday mornings. Also, three newcomers' breakfasts are offered throughout the year to introduce newcomers to the facility. "Each event is attended by at least sixty or more people," she tells us.

As for all members of the Church, there are plenty of events throughout the year, making sure everyone is included. These events include things such as Parish picnic sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, Monthly night of Taize Prayer, The Gala (an event supporting our school endowment), Casino Night (an event that supports our parish school), International Festival (an event that honors the cultural diversity in our parish by including international flavored liturgy, international food event and international talent show), and a Parish Festival.

Ascension strives to involve the entire community and make Church an easy going experience that the entire family will enjoy. "We enjoy vibrant worship with various styles of music from traditional to contemporary," Birmingham says. "We are a diverse multicultural community and community life at Ascension is par excellence."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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