Spalding Pastoral Center nears completion
To applause and expressions of admiration, the new Archbishop John Lancaster Spalding Pastoral Center of the Diocese of Peoria was crowned with gold-colored crosses last Thursday.
Perhaps none of the onlookers was as pleased as Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, who sang out a line of the hymn, “Lift High the Cross,” when the north cross was lowered into place.
“Ave crux, spes unica!” the bishop exclaimed. “The motto of my religious order (the Congregation of Holy Cross) is ‘Hail the cross, our only hope.'”
“Isn’t that stunning?” Bishop Jenky said as the cross flashed and gleamed in the midday sun of a clear, cool autumn afternoon.
Later in the day, an identical cross was placed atop the south end of the pastoral center, which is expected to open in November. The tops of the crosses are 77 feet above street level, according to Andrew Hagemann, director of diocesan property. To put them in place, a 95-foot crane fully extended its arm before slowly lowering the crosses for placement on waiting mounts.
The north cross will be visible to passersby both day and night. A spotlight has been set atop a light pole in the parking lot to illuminate it at night.
The north cross was put in place about two hours after a 10:30 a.m. ceremony in the pastoral center parking lot during which Bishop Jenky blessed both crosses as well as the building’s cornerstone, located at the south entrance. About 60 members of the Curia staff were present for the blessing.
The blessing and installation of the crosses and blessing of the cornerstone were significant milestones in the construction of the pastoral center, which began in early 2007 and is nearly complete.
Located two blocks north of St. Mary’s Cathedral and across the Spalding Mall from the current Sheen Pastoral Center, the four-story facility will become the new home of diocesan offices that are currently scattered in several aging buildings in Peoria.