Mar 26, 2013

Construction work of New Chancery Office started in Niigata

Construction work of a new Chancery Office of Niigata Diocese and a residence for its Bishop has started last week.  Present office and residence building, a two-storied wooden house, was built more than 80 years ago, though the exact date of construction is unknown since the diocese at that time bought an already existing structure and made necessary addition to it.

Decision to build a new structure for the diocese was made a few years ago when the diocese had been informed by the Missionary Sisters of Sacred Heart in Fujisawa that they were to close their nursery school behind the Bishop's residence by March 2011.  Since then, a committee was formed both by priests and laity to discuss about the future plan of the Cathedral property.  The Committee came up with idea to demolish the nursery school and also the present residence and build a new one on the ground ofthe nursery school.  An existing two storied building behind the Bishop's residence which used be a minor seminary will remain and be used as a residence for retired priests of the diocese. I agreed with the proposal immediately since the Japanese government has been planning to increase sales tax from April, 2014. The sales tax in Japan also applies on construction works.

In order to demolish the closed nursery school building, a part of the Bishop's residence had to be demolished first so that heavy machines would be able to reach the nursery school area. Also the committee decided, in order not to spend too much money, and, of course as a tiny diocese with only seven thousand Catholics, the diocese does not have enough fund, to build a single story flat for both a chancery office and a residence for its bishop.

So during last two weeks, part of the present bishop's house, a dinning room and a kitchen section, was demolished.  The construction company, Shibata Kensetsu, says they may be able to demolish the former nursery school by the end of April and to begin the construction work for a new building by the beginning of May.  By the time they finish with the new building, then the present residence building will be demolished.  The entire construction activities may finish by the end of this year.

As I mentioned, the diocese has not enough money to cover the cost of this construction.  We have only 58% of the cost which is, including the cost for demolishing works and that is costing us quite a lot, USD 1.8 million.  In Niigata diocese, I have made an appeal to make special collections for next several years to contribute for this project. The new building is not only a house for bishop but will include office and meeting spaces for the diocese.  Your donations will be appreciated.  

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