Brazilian Catholic Church in Bethel approves opening


BETHEL – The Brazilian quasi-Catholic community in the Danbury area in search of a home is closer than ever to a place to call their own.

The Bethel Planning and Zoning Commission voted Tuesday to approve Our Lady of Aparecida’s special permit application to convert an existing building on Vail Road into a worship room and community center.

Attorney Peter Olson, who represented the quasi-parish of the Diocese of Bridgeport, said he was not surprised by the unanimous approval of the application by the commission.

“I felt the commission was positive through the public hearing process and we just buttoned up some details on (Tuesday) evening,” said Olson.

Our Lady of Aparecida has been looking for a church of her own after years of sharing the service room with St Peter Church on Danbury Main Street while maintaining a separate common room on Liberty Street.

Father Leonel S. Medeiros told the Bethel Planning and Zoning Commission that the growing congregation desperately needs its own space and the building at 42 Vail Road – currently inhabited by the Michaels in the Grove Banquet Hall and Event Center – is exactly what its parishioners want to need.

Medeiros said Our Lady of Aparecida currently has 1,000 registered families and the purchase of the property on Vail Road would benefit the community in many ways.

It would not only enable Our Lady of Aparecida to have a worship room and a common room under one roof, but also enable easier planning of the services, as she would no longer have to share the worship room in the Church of St. Peter.

Although no construction is proposed for the 14,906 square meter building, Our Lady of Aparecida had to apply for a special permit, as Bethel’s building regulations prescribe it for religious institutions.

The quasi-congregation is planning to create a church service room on the upper floor of the building and a community room on the ground floor.

Olson said the worship space would hold about 250 people, and the existing 123 parking spaces on the premises would more than meet the city planning ordinance’s requirements of one space per 150 square feet of usable building space.

The next step for Our Lady of Aparecida is to close the title, which had been put on hold until the application for a special permit.

“It’s pretty normal for you to have land use contingency in a contract – you get your land use permits and once that’s done you plan the deal and move on,” said Olson. “Of course we wanted to get the permit before they bought it.”

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