The N1billion St. John Mary Vianney Priests Home (SJMVPH) project is expected to be completed next year, Chairman of the Fundraising Subcommittee, Chief Anthony Idigbe, SAN, has said.
He spoke at the turning of the sod and fundraising ceremony at the St Agnes Catholic Church, Maryland in Lagos
The SJMVHP is a project undertaken by the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos to build a befitting home for the ageing population of priests.
The project committee, headed by Parish Priest, Rev. Fr Anthony Fadairo, was constituted in 2019 by the Archbishop of the metropolitan see of Lagos, His Grace, Most Rev. Adewale Martins.
Idigbe told reporters that the project was a solution to the lack of accommodation for retired priests who have no home to go back to.
He said: “A priest leaves the family to serve. When they retire, returning home brings pressures, which the whole idea of celibacy tries to avoid.
“So it lies on the laity to take care of the clergy when they are no longer strong to work for us.
“In those days, foreign priests had those types of homes to return to when done in Africa.Now we have indigenous priests who lack similar homes. That’s why this project is very significant.
“We have been getting support from non-Catholics. For instance, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu believes the government has a responsibility to take care of the aged, especially as it becomes increasingly difficult to take care of our parents. So the government is happy about it.
“The facility is expected to take between 28 and 30 priests. There will be lounges, a library, chapel, grotto, refectory, laundry, reception, recreation areas, and lots more to care for the elderly”.
“The project should be completed in about 12 months, so hopefully by this time next year, it will be ready. The support has been encouraging.”
Archbishop Martins said the home would enable priests to work without worrying about homes to retire to.
He said the fundraiser was the second of such efforts and is hopeful that the estimated N999.9million will be generated to complete the six-storey building.
Rev Fadairo said some of the priests were infirm and had been staying in some parishes, but needed more comfortable and permanent residence.
“It’s a 34-apartment building. It’s a six-year grand plan. We are very hopeful that within 14 and 16 months, the project will be completed,” he said.
Also at the event was Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Religious Matter (Christian), Rev. Bukola Adeleke, amongst other dignitaries.