Our History

Christ Our Redeemer Parish began as a plan of Father Brendan Heaslip, Pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Niceville. Seeing the potential need for a parish east of the Meigs Bridge (Rocky Bayou), he petitioned Bishop Keith Symons to purchase five acres of property on White Point Road. A warranty deed was signed on November 28, 1983. Father Heaslip began a savings program which would eventually be used as seed money to start the parish. Until Father Tugwell, the next pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Parish, formed a committee for the proposed new parish in 1987, little had been done to proceed with the creation of the parish.

In 1987, Father Tugwell set a goal of $50,000.00 to fund the savings program begun by Fr. Heaslip. The goal was quickly reached and planned for the new parish began in earnest. The building committee recommended that a large piece of property be purchased for the new parish site. Bishop Symons agreed, and in September of 1987, approximately nine acres was purchased on White Point Road.

On December 4, 1987, Bishop Symons celebrated the first Mass for the new parish at the Blue Water Bay Community Center. Approximately 150 people were in attendance. In June of 1989, Bishop Symons issued the Document of Establishment of Parish for Christ Our Redeemer parish. This document outlined the parish boundaries. In the same month, Bishop Symons appointed Fr. Tugwell as Administrator of Christ Our Redeemer Parish, while retaining his appointment as Pastor of Holy Name of Jesus. From that date separate sacramental and financial records began to be kept for the new parish.

In January of 1990, Bishop Symons appointed Deacons Joaquin Trevino and Michael Carruci to Christ Our Redeemer Parish. During this time, the parish celebrated Mass weekly at the First Baptist Church in Bluewater Bay. Due to an increasing congregation the site for weekly Mass was moved to Bluewater Bay Elementary School.

In August of 1989, Fr. Michael Cherup was named the pastor of Christ Our Redeemer Parish. When the parish had sufficient funds to begin building, groundbreaking for a Multi-Celebration Building occurred on December 3rd, 1989. On March 2, 1991, 275 families gathered to celebrate the first Mass in the new Multi-Celebration Building. On October 20, 1991, Bishop John M. Smith dedicated the building.

In June of 1993, Father J. Craig Williams, was named pastor of Christ Our Redeemer. During the next three years, Father Williams focused on eliminating a debt of $630,000.00. By July 1996, the remaining debt was $57,000.00. The savings rose to $140,500.00. Monies would continue to be saved for a New Sanctuary. In 1996, there were approximately 465 families registered in the parish.

In 1998, the parish hired Dr. Ronald Zawilla, Liturgical consultant for Genesis Studio, a subsidiary of Watra Church Supply, to conduct a liturgical environment study to determine a vision and direction for the development of a New Sanctuary. Fund raising continued. By 2001, additional land was purchased, extending the property line to North Lake Shore Drive, south of the existing property. During another Pastoral Leadership change in 2003 the Building Committee continued their planning for the New Sanctuary.

In 2004, Quina, Grundhoefer, Architects were selected by the Building Committee to develop a Site Master Plan. This was approved by Bishop John H. Ricard, SSJ in the fall of 2004. A major Capital Campaign was executed on April 8th, 205, to raise funds to begin construction. During this time, a design concept, based on vision of the building committee, was presented to Bishop Ricard for approval.

On November 20th, 2005, Bishop Ricard broke ground for the New Sanctuary. The construction firm, Lord and Son, was hired to build the structure. Dr. Ronald Zawilla was retained to design the furnishings of the New Sanctuary.

In late 2006, Growth Management of Okaloosa County signed off on the project for its commencement. From this time to the present, the people of Christ Our Redeemer Parish have worked hard at raising funds, providing their suggestions for decorum in the new space, and have continued to share the excitement of this venture with the greater local community. The dedication of the New House of Prayer occurred on April 20, 2008. 

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