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Collaborations to be enhanced with new ‘RC Pastoral Campus’

The Roman Catholic Belmont Pastoral Campus (RCBPC), 34B Belmont Circular Road was blessed by Archbishop Jason Gordon on Thursday, April 20.

The new campus houses the Catholic Media Services Ltd (CAMSEL), Catholic Religious Education Development Institute (CREDI), Archdiocesan Family Life Commission, Catholic Youth Commission, Catholic Commission for Social Justice, Evangelization Commission, Liturgical Commission, Archdiocesan Catechetical Office.

The “dream” for the Campus is for greater and more effective collaboration among Commissions and companies, as One Body of Christ, executing the mission of the Church.

“This Pastoral Campus was the mechanism through which the dream would be accomplished, by bringing us together under one roof – no longer individual silos, located in different spaces, communicating virtually or journeying to meet with each other, spending precious time in traffic,” said Champion of the project, Episcopal Delegate for Commissions, Anna-Maria Garcia-Brooks.

(Shown right receiving a token of appreciation) Anna-Maria Garcia-Brooks.

The project broke ground last year and the plan was for the Campus to be occupied in 2022. Garcia-Brooks said, “God had other plans and preferred April 2023, in the Easter season – a time of renewal and new beginnings. How apt.”

She commended the work of the contractor who worked “round the clock” getting the building ready for the blessing. She thanked the planning team and the collaborators on the project.

Garcia-Brooks quoted Pope Francis’ words that to start without confidence is to lose half the battle and bury one’s talents. She added: “We went forward with this project with confidence, trust, faith, and many new talents and allies emerged. We thank God for that grace and for bringing so many wonderful new people into our lives.”

In occupying the beautiful space, she said there were two more words to the mantra of collaboration—teamwork and cooperation. These would be required in the shared space and hybrid work environment.

Garcia-Brooks described the atrium as Umana Yana, an Amerindian word for the Meeting Place. “This is where we meet and greet visitors and colleagues; this is where we assemble for lunch or a snack or a quiet respite from our work; this is where we come together for larger gathering as a team or to have smaller meetings and discussions,” she said.

The contemporary design used external space — a courtyard — to create an internal hub that will be “functional and comfortable”.

Garcia-Brooks said when the plan was being reviewed based on budgeting, some items had to be removed. The inclusion of a chapel, an idea of the Archbishop, was one but Garcia-Brooks said, “how can we move into a place to do God’s work and not have a chapel.”

It remained, and as the Lord said, “seek and you will find”, a contractor was contacted and responded positively. The space for the chapel was prepared in two weeks. “God sent him,” Garcia-Brooks said.

She thanked Archbishop Jason Gordon for sharing the dream for the site and confidence in the team to bring it to fruition.

In her address, architect Alison Grosberg, of Architect and Interior Design company Designworks Ltd, cited St Teresa of Avila, “Christ has no Body now but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours…”

Grosberg said every project has its own story and the RCBPC was no different. “This is a success because of the hands and feet of so many here in this room from the designers, to the contractors. If they painted, they painted with love; if they cleaned, they cleaned with love….”

The construction project became a labour of love and there were “heart-warming stories”.  She disclosed a furniture supplier responded in record time and upon delivery also supplied two bags with groceries, a donation for the St Dominic’s Children’s Home, located on the same compound. “He didn’t just bring furniture, he brought love,” Grosberg said.

In another anecdote, a worker on the site could not return home because of a shooting in his community. Arrangements were made for him to have a place to stay overnight.

Grosberg said a lot of prayers went into the project and she was confident graces would flow from the space into the community and world.

Tokens of appreciation were presented to persons involved in the project. Prayers were offered and the building and its workers blessed by Archbishop Gordon. In the area designed for CAMSEL/Catholic News staff, he prayed for them to have courage, wisdom, creativity, and insight. He prayed that staff experience God’s blessings daily and His guidance to communicate the Good News with great joy and “experience the dynamism of the Kingdom”.

By Lara Pickford-Gordon
Photos: Gerard-Paul Wanliss