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Church dedicates grotto
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People in Dawson County wanting a place for prayer and peace and quiet need not go far.

On Sunday, Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church will dedicate its latest additiona grotto.

According to Christ the Redeemers Father Brian Higgins, everyone is invited to use the space for meditation.

Its a sanctuary of prayer, and thats why people are all invited, Higgins said. Catholics, non-Catholics, whoever can come there and find that sense of peace to get away from the world, get away from the busyness, to get away from cell phones and iPads, all those things, and just turn everything off and just in a sense allow God to speak to us.

The idea of the grotto originally came from the 2010 class at Southern Catholic College, a college in Dawson County that has since closed.

The grotto will be dedicated to someone who helped spearhead the project, Kevin Sinnott, a student from Ireland who drowned in 2009. We think this is going to be a great testament to Kevin and his faith, Higgins said.

The students had raised $20,000 for the project and needed to decide what to do with it. According to Higgins, the students felt Dawsonville was the only appropriate place, since it was the only place Sinnott really knew in the United States.

Higgins said he brought the idea to his church, which immediately took to the project. Im always overwhelmed with the generosity of people, and this is no exception, Higgins said.

What Higgins first thought of as a small feature in the backyard of the church quickly expanded into something much larger.

We went from something simple to something grandiose, he said.

Surrounding the grotto is a small walking trail, benches and holy statues, including the Lady of Lourdes and St. Peregrine, patron saint of cancer patients. The grotto took 157 tons of stone to build over 15 weeks and 2,800 hours of manpower.

The money raised by the Southern Catholic College students funded about half of the project. The rest was raised by Christ the Redeemer parishoners.

A ceremony will be held on Saturday to dedicate the grotto, and the community is invited. The dedication will begin at 11 a.m., and a potluck lunch will follow.

Higgins encourages everyone to use the grotto as a place to relax and getaway. This is something I want not just for our parishoners but for the people of Dawsonville or whomever who say I just need a break What a great place to come to just listen to the voice of God.

Higgins said the grotto is available pretty much anytime day or night. Security cameras and lights are placed in the area to ensure safety. It is also handicapped-accessible.

Christ the Redeemer is located at 991 Kilough Church Road. For more information you may call 706-265-1361 or visit