By Fr. Santo Arrigo, C.Ss.R.
“Ready? Set? Go!” has been the sentiment amidst all changes that have been taking place this past year at the “Monastery” at St. Patrick’s in Toronto. As of August 17, 2013, the last of the confreres moved from the Monastery into Redeemer House, as the fences were erected and the demolition crew began to make preparations for their work.
Over the last several months, as the work of the Renovation Committee, along with the Redemptorist community, the architects and trades were doing their investigations and drawings, plans were being made for the new parish offices for St. Patrick’s Church, which are now relocated in the renovated building of 131 McCaul Street. Having completed the unification of the administrations of the German and English Parishes a year ago, the new office space has been a welcomed and life giving venture for the pastoral work of the entire St. Patrick’s Parish community. During this time, confreres have relocated their accommodations, all with the consideration of personal care needs, access to the Church to be present to the demands of the pastoral ministry, and consolidation of care of the confreres.
Redeemer House is full of life and energy of a new community, which is the center of not only the community living in residence there along with the administration office of the community, but Redeemer House also serves as the home base for the confreres living in adjacent accommodations, with Peter Chin living at the Chinese Catholic Centre, Joe Ruta, Jacek Cydzik and myself living in local condos until the renovations are complete. As we move further into this fall, the community under the rector-ship of Tom O’Rourke will gather on an ongoing basis to maintain and strengthen the ties of community through sharing in community life, common prayer, meals and ongoing formation.
As for the renovation of the “Monastery” itself, a tremendous amount of work has already begun and been completed. To date, all the necessary walls have been demolished, with only the remaining walls and structures standing that will be part of the new floor plan. Specialized work to remove the lead paint, and asbestos has now been completed, and thus the partition framing (new walls) is already underway.
To walk into St. Patrick’s “Monastery” at this time, is a walk through history. Beautiful wood floors, and several architectural features have now been revealed as demolition has unearthed the hidden beauty from behind decades of repairs and different projects of renovations. Of course, the trick will be to see how these beautiful and delicate features can be worked into the restoration and renovation without compromise of the renovation requirements for this project. Plans are underway for the demolition of the garages so to rework that area to prepare for new garages and the mechanical HVAC units that will be housed behind the new garage.
Each week, the contractor, Peter Kwan, the project manager, Kelly Gilbride, Marwan Al-Turk, myself and the team of tradesmen meet to review the work underway and the next steps in the project construction. As expected, even after a month of work, the project is still on time and on target!
Over the next few months, as we move out of the demolition phases and see the progress of the construction phase, no doubt the Renovation Committee for Redemptorists (Myself – Chair, Joe Ruta, Bill Fitzgerald and Tom O’Rourke) will have their work cut out for them as further considerations will be discussed pertaining to the finer details and finishes of the construction project.
We look forward to continuing to share with you updates of the progress of the project.