As Mother Teresa Church in Nolensville celebrated its one-year anniversary on Sept. 5, the growth of the parish seems to be echoed by the words of its namesake, St. Teresa of Calcutta: “Joy is a net of love by which you catch souls.”
Mother Teresa Church has caught the souls of more than 500 families in this past year, and the community is only continuing to grow and prosper. It’s something that pastor Father Anthony Stewart said he continues to be in awe of and overwhelmed by each week.
“Every Sunday, it seems to be that there are more and more people, more families joining and so many willing people just wanting to be involved and be at the foundation of this parish,” Father Stewart said. “That’s just really moving and exciting that so many people want to be a part of it.”
As of Monday, Sept. 26, the church has 520 registered families, and includes an active Knights of Columbus Council, Women’s Club, Men’s Club, dedicated altar servers, children’s liturgy of the word, Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, a hospitality committee, a finance council, a building committee, a parish council and more.
“The growth has really been the most mind-boggling part; to see the growth of this parish in such a short time,” Father Stewart said. “Seeing all these groups form organically with parishioners coming to me and saying, ‘We want to start these groups’ … it’s a huge testament to the need of the parish.”
Patti Dial, along with her husband of 45 years, Gary Dial, has been with Mother Teresa from its inception.
“I’ve always had an interest in Mother Teresa and a fondness for her before she was even a saint, so having a church named after her was very exciting,” Patti Dial said. “Then, we really liked Father Anthony, and found out he was starting this church, so what better thing to do than to follow and help start a new parish.”
Dial has done several things to help get the church started including serving as part of the ushering and welcoming committee at the beginning of Mass, setting up and taking down chairs every Sunday, and recently learning to be a sacristan, so she could help prepare the altar for Masses. She has also worked on the landscaping at the future property to make the parish offices and chapel more beautiful for parishioners in the interim before the new church is built in the coming years.
“I’m no Michelangelo, but it’s pretty,” she said. “I’ve been involved in helping with just anything that needs done. It’s like an extension of your own home, the home church is, and as new parishioners come in, I try to meet them all. It’s a very magical thing.”
As the parish has continued to grow, Dial said it shows just how much of a need there was to have a parish in the area.
“There are enough homes and enough people moving here that, I think, if there isn’t a parish nearby, people don’t necessarily want to go a long distance, but if it’s right there, it makes it easier for people to want to join,” Dial said. “It wouldn’t be this full if there wasn’t a need. Father Stewart gives a very dynamic homily, and you can just see the joy on people’s faces, so they keep coming back and joining.”
And Father Stewart and Dial said they hope the growth only continues as the years go on.
“My hope for the parish is it becomes a place of hope for people in this crazy world, a place of faith and life that they look to as they live their lives,” Father Stewart said. “That’s what we ultimately want is for our parish community to be a place of excitement and joy in people’s lives; a place where they can meet with God.”
“My hope is that we will continue to grow and continue to have a positive presence in this area of Williamson County, and I hope that people will bring their friends and spread the word and continue to be as excited and happy as we are,” Dial added. “I hope the newness doesn’t go away … and that the excitement will continue to remain for years to come.”
Mother Teresa celebrates Mass every Sunday at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. in the gymnasium of Nolensville Elementary School, 2338 Rocky Fork Road, Nolensville. Daily Mass is celebrated at 9 a.m. every Monday, 7:30 a.m. every Tuesday, 7 p.m. every Wednesday, and at noon every Thursday in the Rectory Chapel at 7668 Nolensville Road.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation and the celebration of Eucharistic Adoration is available every Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Rectory Chapel.
For more information about the parish, its ministries, and becoming a member, visit motherteresacc.com.