Hit pause on “Lumen House”? Holy Redeemer School might make a great chancery

I saw yesterday’s big news a bit late, on a newspaper at Walgreen’s. It had a picture of the Bishop O’Connor Center on the front page, and the story was that the diocese was considering leasing the building to a developer who would turn the expansive building, formerly Holy Name Seminary, into apartments. Go here for the information direct from the Diocese. A surprise to me, and a sad one because I like this place, where I often stop in for noon Mass when I visit an elderly friend each Thursday at nearby All Saints Assisted Living. I have taken great pleasure walking the gorgeous grounds with tall grass and wildflowers–though I fervently hope we would continue to be permitted to do so.

The proposal does make sense. The building is costing the diocese half a million dollars per year and would allegedly continue to require major capital investments. The proposal would save those funds and generate a positive revenue stream for the diocese. This would prioritize the education of our large number of excellent seminarians. My reaction is, okay probably let’s go ahead.

The same day, yesterday evening at 5pm, was the groundbreaking for another initiative to turn a cherished Catholic building into apartments: Lumen House, the new name for Holy Redeemer School. It’s slated to be turned into apartments intended for Catholic UW students associated with Saint Paul’s. Bishop Morlino and Monsignor Holmes were there, so was the developer and various others involved in the project. Although people had been invited, there was also Mass starting around the same time so maybe that is why there seemed to be few random parishioners other than me present. Bishop Morlino blessed a symbolic pile of dirt, Monsignor Holmes the pastor sprinkled the dirt and the building with holy water. Father Eric Nielsen the pastor of Saint Paul’s didn’t attend the groundbreaking, rather Saint Paul’s had been represented by two students. He walked by just afterward and after briefly greeting the students he simply went to the Adoration Chapel in the basement of Holy Redeemer Church.
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