Use of Spalding Renewal Center, in need of repairs, to be ‘significantly’ restricted

For more than three decades, the Spalding Renewal Center at 401 N.E. Madison, Peoria, has been home to ministries including Peoria Cursillo, Spanish Cursillo, and Teens Encounter Christ. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

Use of the Spalding Renewal Center in Peoria will be “significantly” restricted effective May 15, the Diocese of Peoria has announced.

“A recent facilities study determined the need for considerable repairs” to the historic building at 401 N.E. Madison Ave., according to a news release issued by the diocese on March 18.

The statement emphasized the diocese “has no plans to sell, change, or tear down the Spalding Renewal Center,” built in 1901 as Spalding Institute and serving as a Catholic high school for the next nine decades. It was remodeled after the 1988 merger that formed Peoria Notre Dame to serve as the Spalding Renewal Center, and since 1991 has been home to diocesan ministries including Peoria Cursillo, Spanish Cursillo, and Teens Encounter Christ.

“Because of the extent of needed repairs to the building which are above the ongoing maintenance costs, it is not financially prudent to keep the Spalding Renewal Center fully operational at this time,” said Bishop Louis Tylka. For the immediate future, according to the news release, the building will be preserved to maintain its rich history.

RESPONSE FROM CURSILLO, TEC

“The Peoria Cursillo and TEC communities respect and understand this decision,” said Sister Subha Clare Ramesh, OSF, co-spiritual director of Peoria Cursillo.

In a joint letter to members and supporters of the Peoria Cursillo family also released on March 18, she and other leaders said Cursillo, TEC, and Prison Ministry are “looking for a long-term home” and have the full support of the diocese.

“As a Cursillo community, we ask for prayers as we seek a new spiritual home for our community to pray and celebrate together, bringing others to God’s loving embrace,” said Deacon Rick Miller, co-spiritual director of Peoria Cursillo. Meanwhile, the leaders — also including Dave Templin, Peoria Cursillo lay director — said Cursillo is planning weekends in 2022 “and are targeting a return later this summer.”

“Cursillo has been operating in the diocese for nearly 60 years,” said Sister Subha. “Our community has said Cursillo is much more than a building. We’re recognized as a ministry of evangelization within the diocese, and look forward to continuing our support of Bishop Tylka’s episcopal motto, ‘Go Make Disciples.’”

The joint letter said the Peoria Cursillo movement remains strong after nearly 60 years and, guided by the Holy Spirit, “will thrive into the future.”

“If the last couple of (pandemic) years have taught us anything, it’s that we are flexible and we are adaptable,” said the joint letter. Plans are being considered for final events to take place at the Spalding Renewal Center between now and May 15.

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