Passionist Spiritual Ctr. is threatened by closure

For the first time in its history, the Passionist Spiritual Center is in need of help as closure threatens the religious retreat location.

A sanctuary for people looking to reconnect with their spirituality or for an escape from the chaos of everyday life, the Passionist Spiritual Center, located 5801 Palisade Avenue Center, has been a place for retreat since 1967.

“Basically most of the people that come here are from the metropolitan area, ordinary folks looking to renew and recharge their relationship with God,” said director, Fr. Paul Fagan.

Approximately six weeks ago, while Con Edison was performing work on the grounds, it was brought to Fagan’s attention that the electrical transformer was beginning to leak oil.

“After they alerted us we knew something had to be done, if all the oil leaks out the transformer will shut down and we will be done,” said Ragan.

“The Environment Protection Agency also became involved because of the leak’s effect on the soil.”

The cost to replace the transformer is approximately $75,000. In addition, clean up and testing of the soil must be performed, pushing the total cost even higher.

For the first time in 47 years, the Passionists’ eliminated their annual Easter Appeal, their primary means of fundraising, to begin an Emergency Appeal.

“At this point in time we are predicting a cost of $ 100,000, but the number seems to be rising,” said Ragan.

“We are trying to raise as much money as we can so we don’t find ourselves short. The Easter Appeal also helps with the day-to-day activities and with all the money going towards this project we have to go a bit beyond to make things work.”

Members of the Passionist community are looking for help from their neighbors to keep the center open, the spiritual center accommodates over 5,000 visitors each year.

Founded in Italy by Saint Paul of the Cross, the Passionist Community, a part of the Roman Catholic Tradition, has centers in 54 countries, with approximately 300 Passionists that follow the mission, preaching the word of God to others.

For further information or to offer your assistance call (718) 549-6500 or visit www.passionists.org.

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