Nativity Catholic Church of Brandon has much to celebrate during this its Golden Jubilee Year. The long-awaited Monsignor Lara Youth Center and Sister Irene Gymnasium were dedicated earlier this month. Bishop Robert N. Lynch, Diocese of St. Petersburg, presided over a Mass prior to the dedication.
The church celebrated the grand opening of the facility earlier this month.
The Youth Center is named after the Pastor Emeritus of Nativity Catholic Church, Monsignor James C. Lara, who was pastor for 30 years. The gymnasium is named after Sr. Irene St. Jean, CSC, who served as principal for 27 years. Sr. Irene passed away in 2004.
The 21,000-sq.-ft. facility will house a gymnasium, multi-purpose/extended day space and youth ministry space. For 30 years, the youth group met in a portable affectionately called, “The Shack.” Justin Lantz is the director of Youth Ministry at Nativity. Lantz said, “I’m so overjoyed at the gratitude of Nativity parishioners that have given the youth of Nativity and the youth of the community a safe and fun place to gather. My goal is to use this building for God’s glory and draw youth closer to Jesus.”
The cost of the construction of the project was funded through the generosity of donations to the “One Heart” campaign. The parish is made up of approximately 5,800 registered families who generously supported the project as part of a long needed addition to the campus. The school has 774 students enrolled in grades Pre-K3-8th grade.
Nativity Catholic Church is located at 705 E. Brandon Blvd. in Brandon. Please visit

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