Saturday, April 05, 2014

My mansion

As Catholic commentators applaud Atlanta’s Archbishop Wilton Gregory’s to sell his $2.2 million mansion and critique Newark’s Archbishop John Myer’s future retirement home, I am having a few second thoughts about my decision to build a house here in Honduras.

Last year, for a number of reasons, I decided to move out of Santa Rosa de Copán into a village in the parish of Dulce Nombre de Copán where I’ve been helping. Being there will help me be more present to the parish, especially the more remote villages.  I think living there will also help me understand more the lives of the people so that I can better accompany them in their efforts to improve their lives.

I spoke with the Plan Grande village church council and asked them if that would be okay with them. As expected, the response was almost unanimously positive. (I had also checked this out beforehand with the bishop and the pastor.)

View from the old church in Plan Grande
I told them that my idea was to build a house where I would stay until I leave Honduras or die – whichever comes first. At that point, the house would be handed over to the parish – for its use. The people suggested that I build on a piece of the church’s land next to the old church.

I also thought that it might be good to have a place where I could welcome people who come to visit as well as where people I know who work here could find a place for a day or so of quiet retreat.

I made a design, with three small bedrooms, two bathrooms, a study/prayer space, as well as combined living room, dining room, and kitchen. All of this to fit on an 8 meter y 10 meter grid (with a few rooms on a second floor.)

As I look at the costs, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s not too big. It’s fairly simple, but it should cost between $30,000 and $40,000. I’ll be providing some work for people in the community and I’ll be using it for some meetings for the parish – but…

I’ll be using part of my retirement savings for this but I still wonder if I should not have something smaller and simpler.

I will probably go forward on this - but I will need to proceed with a bit of humility and discernment. 


Sherry said...

David and I will pray about this. My first thoughts to address your concerns would be the simplicity and functionality of the building. I suspect you are one that would not like to live much above what the local culture and economy bears. The second thought I have is that this is will be a residence built for the purpose of service, such as God has graced you with. Permanence is another thought that comes to me, as it is to be left behind in order for others to serve. I love that you have considered this prayerfully before commencing. Make the work a prayer to God.

Des said...

This is not really any of my business but if you are spending your own money to help others then I have to say, go for it. I hope it works out for you.