By Art DlugachMARBLE FALLS—Sunshine was hidden by the ominous look of a white sky on January 8—one of the many cold days in the Hill Country this wintertime. But, more important, the physical portrait was eclipsed by a bright beacon of emotion that was absorbed by parishioners of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church on Highway 1431.

After six years of planning—from idea to this biggest step toward fruition—church leaders broke ground for a 500-seat sanctuary. It is being constructed on the hallowed land of the current buildings, already an historic campus spanning six decades.

“We’re extremely excited,” said Deacon Curt Haffner. “The time has finally come to get this done.”

The sanctuary will cover 11,000 square feet and take 10 months to build. “We can increase the seating capacity to a thousand,” in future expansions, declared architect Steve Gele of SLG Architects of Austin. Gele’s projects have included mission sites in Panama