By Celine Klosterman
CLINTON — Habitat for Humanity needed a place to build its next house. Two members of Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton needed that home.
Earlier this month, the parish helped accommodate both needs by donating two lots at the closed St. Ireneaus Church to the Christian housing ministry.
“It was truly an answer to prayer,” said Barb Knight, affiliate coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Clinton County. She said the organization last summer chose Catholics Steve and Kerry Notz to move into Habitat’s next house, but didn’t have property to build on. “We were frantically searching around Clinton for lots that weren’t expensive and didn’t need a lot of work. That’s when Prince of Peace came forward. It was good timing.”
The parish learned of Habitat for Humanity’s need for land in August 2009, when the organization made a presentation to Prince of Peace’s pastoral council about the Apostles Build project. In that project, churches unite to provide funding, labor and spiritual support to build a Habitat for Humanity home.
In November, parish representatives offered the ministry two lots on the corner west of the former St. Irenaeus School, which was demolished in 2004. “We thought it would be a great way to use our land,” said Father Tony Herold, Prince of Peace’s pastor.
In December, parish leaders and Davenport Diocese administrators approved plans to transfer the 12,500 square feet of property.
Habitat for Humanity will build the Notzes’ home on one of the lots; a groundbreaking ceremony took place April 11. The organization doesn’t yet have plans for the second piece of property, Knight said.
For the Notzes, who have been married 11 months, the home fulfilled a dream. “I always wanted to own a home, and now I’m going to,” said Steve, 39. Diagnosed with spinocerebellar ataxia, he and Kerry, 40, will live in a house designed to accommodate his scooter. The couple now rent an approximately century-old Clinton home with narrow doorways and other obstacles to accessibility.
“I can’t even tell you what this means to us,” said Kerry, a paraprofessional at Clinton High School. Steve works as a computer operator for the Sisters of St. Francis in Clinton.
Jessica Bates, chairperson of the Family Selection Committee for Habitat for Humanity of Clinton County, said the couple impressed the organization. “It is obvious they are truly dedicated to each other and the goal of building their new home and life together,” she said. “Their hard working, caring attitudes are blessings to all they meet.”
St. Ireneaus Church, which closed in 2008, was home to one of five Clinton parishes that merged to form Prince of Peace Parish in 1990. The parish is working on an agreement to transfer ownership of the 146-year-old, Gothic-style building to the Clinton County Historical Society, said Dave Schnier. He is Prince of Peace’s business administrator.
Of the other four former Catholic churches in Clinton, St. Boniface is serving as a Catholic Historical Center; St. Mary’s and St. Patrick’s were torn down, and Sacred Heart is serving as a chapel for Prince of Peace Schools and for religious education students. Prince of Peace Parish dedicated a new church last spring.