by JEFF DILLON
A generous bequest by a former Dunedin diocesan parishioner has enabled the diocese to clear most of the debt on the new units built to house retired priests at the Holy Cross Centre grounds in Mosgiel.
Originally, a fundraising effort saw four apartments planned and built during 2007, and ready for occupation by mid-2008. There were two structures built parallel to each other, embodying two apartments
with attached garages for each structure.
The apartments contained two bedrooms and an open plan kitchen, dining and lounge spaces, plus bathroom, toilet and laundry and the attached garage. They were comfortable, with adequate space, and were similar to a townhouse concept.
By 2020, it was decided to build another two apartment units, based on the same footprint as the first four. Again, the new building would be parallel to the others. Initially the costing for each of the two new units was $290,000, although by the time they were completed there were cost over-runs.
Fortunately, there had been a generous donation which contributed greatly to the cost of one of the units, and additional fundraising and a loan from the CDF largely paid for the second. The first of the new apartments was completed in time for a retiring priest to move into by May, 2021. The second one was finished later in 2021, but as it was not immediately required for a retiring priest, it has been rented out privately in the meantime.
Recently, the diocese received a generous bequest from the late Les Hailes, a North Invercargill parishioner who previously lived in Nightcaps. It was decided to use that and other bequests to pay down the CDF loan, and therefore clear most of the debt on the two new units.
Of course, the area around the new building has required restoration and landscaping, with the final costs for that work still to come in. The end result is regarded as a great asset for the diocese, and certainly the five clergy living there enjoy a well-deserved level of comfort and warmth in their years of retirement. They have companionship of their fellow priests, and are just a few steps away from the parish church on the grounds of the Holy Cross Centre.