|$2.3m Reno for Catholic Glebe House in Halifax
September 1, 2010
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Halifax, N.S., is spending $2.3 million to renovate Glebe House so it can house Archbishop Anthony Mancini and other priests.
Some have criticized the expense given that the Roman Catholic diocese of Antigonish, N.S., must sell some of its properties to raise $15 million for a settlement with victims of sexual abuse by priests, but Rev. Paul Morris, the rector of nearby St. Mary's Basilica, defended it.
"Antigonish is a separate diocese," he said. "It is also a separate legal corporation. I, as the rector here, am trying to fulfill the responsibilities entrusted to me."
The large church property on Spring Garden Road and Barrington Street was built for basilica priests in 1891. The archbishop lived in a home on Dresden Row from 1891 and then a house near the south end Waegwoltic Club from about 1931.
Mancini, who became the archbishop of Halifax in 2007, had the south end home sold for about $750,000 two years ago, and the church put the money into renovating Glebe House.
The stately Victorian brick building, complete with turrets and dormers, will eventually house Mancini, priests who work at the cathedral and the rector of the cathedral.
'Healthy' living arrangement
Morris said Mancini made the move based on his previous experience in Quebec, where he served before coming to Halifax.
"Based on his lived experience in Montreal of living at the cathedral, of living with other priests, being in community, he chose to sell the residence … and chose to move back here," he said.
The extensive renovations include work to the exterior and the "outdated" plumbing and electrical systems, which Morris said were unsafe and inefficient.
The building had housed church offices, but Morris said it would be completely residential once renovations are complete in the spring of 2011.
The upper floor is slated to become a residence for retired priests.
"We will be able to accept, I believe, five retired priests," he said.
That would make a total of about eight priests living in Glebe House.
Morris said the move would enhance the church mission of living in community.
"Sometimes, because of people being very busy and, sometimes, because of the shortage of priests, the ability of priests to live in community and to have that healthy sense of living with others isn't always present," he said.
"I think it will be for everyone a healthy living arrangement."
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