Diocese’s Spalding Pastoral Center opens doors

Photo Caption: Curia staff moved into the Diocese of Peoria new Spalding Pastoral Center in mid-November, even as work continued outside.

Following an “unbelievably smooth” weeklong move, the Diocese of Peoria’s new Spalding Pastoral Center is open two blocks south of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria. And as Thanksgiving approaches, its occupants are voicing gratitude for a modern new workplace they are already reviewing as “remarkable” and “beautiful” even as finishing touches continue to be made.

“I’m so appreciative that Bishop (Daniel R.) Jenky has invited all of us to be in this,” said Jeanne Whalen, director of the diocesan Office of Pastoral Services, one of about two dozen departments now based in the four-story brick complex. She credited the vision of Bishop Jenky, who announced the project in February of 2006 to not only provide office space for diocesan outreaches formerly scattered in aging, inefficient buildings, but also to serve as a central gathering location for conferences, retreats and Catholic events.

Moving trucks began lining up to the doorway at the former Sheen Pastoral Center on Monday, Nov. 10, and workers later emptied other ministries housed for a time at sites such as St. Augustine Manor and St. Bernard’s School. Thousands of packed boxes as well as file cabinets and furniture pieces were transported to the new facility.

Among the many offices to relocate are the diocesan Chancery — including Bishop Jenky’s office, located on the fourth floor — and those of The Catholic Post, which is publishing following a work week greatly shortened by the transition.

“We will give our readers a more comprehensive look at the Spalding Pastoral Center in a future issue as the first open house is scheduled,” said Tom Dermody, editor. “But we’re still unpacking boxes ourselves, and discovering the many advantages of this new facility.”

Much credit for the smooth move was given to Andrew Hagemann, property and facilities manager, who in turn credited the movers and “a good plan” that included “pre-move” days of materials for storage.

“The building is architecturally a very pleasing place,” said Brother William Dygert, CSC, superintendent of Catholic schools. He looks forward to showing it off when Catholic school superintendents from throughout the state meet at the facility next June.

“The flow of work and activities is highly improved for everyone and between Curia offices,” said John Gibson, diocesan director of stewardship and development. “Since our office works to some degree with most offices of the Curia and the parish pastors who come to the pastoral center on diocese business, it’s a great advantage to meet and talk directly with everyone.”

SPALDING PASTORAL CENTER | 419 NE MADISON AVENUE | PEORIA, IL 61603 | PHONE (309) 671-1550 | FAX (309) 671-1595
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