It was a very important moment.
In 2009 we started talking about building a "Retreat and Training Centre" in St Lucia. The idea was initially born out of the cost of fixing our old house in the area. It was immediately welcomed by everybody: priests, religious, lay people... Then we started the process of identifying an architect, a project manager and... possible funders! Everyone was excited, everyone felt part of the project and had something to suggest.
Last week, after receiving the approval of the building plans, we met in St Lucia with members of our Catholic community to consider together a few practical things.
One of them was... where to celebrate Mass until the new building is ready? The project will take no less than 12 months. Someone had already contacted "Seasands Lodge" (http://www.seasands.co.za/) and they were more than available to accomodate us. In two weeks' time the first Mass will be celebrated at their Conference Hall.
Another one was... when are we supposed to move out and where are we going to store all the things we have in house until we open again?
The meeting lasted more than three hours but the main part of it was taken by the plans of the building. It was a great joy to be able to see the whole plan and where everything will be placed: the St Lucia Church, the twelve cottages, the hall and the new Bishops' house (a place for bishops to come and rest when needed).
While everything was important, it was certainly the Church that took most of our time. One side of the church will have glass allowing everyone to enjoy the beautiful background of the St Lucia Lake. It will be big enough to cater not only for the small groups on retreat or training but also bigger events like weddings. More than anything else, it wants to be a special space of prayer for everyone.