Wake Forest, N.C. — A growing Catholic population in the Triangle has a Wake Forest church building a $9 million, 32,000-square-foot facility that's capable of seating nearly 1,500 people.
Father Philip Tighe, of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, says the number of families at his church as grown from 300 in 1997 to approximately 3,000.
The number is indicative of a broader trend.
Frank Morock, communications director with the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, says that the number of registered Catholics in the Triangle has grown 42 percent in the past 10 years, to more than 200,000 people.
In eastern North Carolina, that number is currently at approximately 500,000.
The reason for the growth, Tighe says, is the number of people moving to the area from the Northeast, as well as a growing Hispanic population.
Church members and private donors have helped raise the money needed to build St. Catherine's new building.
Construction started in June, and members hope to have it open in November.