Catholics discuss Macau church future
Seeking ideas on how to transform disused center into a major landmark
ucanews.com reporter, Macau
March 16, 2011
“We do not want the venue to go to waste. A lot of work needs to be done to keep it and a project to restore a building with half-a-century of history also needs a long-term plan,” said Father Pedro Chung Chi-kin, vicar general of the diocese.
Purposes and cost management are also concerns and thus the Church needed to hear opinions from Macau’s 20,000 Catholics, including clergy, nuns, laypeople and lay associations, added the priest who heads a working group to coordinate the restoration project.
The four-story building, which has been empty for almost 20 years, could be used to introduce the Catholic faith and the history of the diocese to people who do not know the Church, he said.
Other suggestions from the four consultations held since February include, turning the center into a Church museum, an information center concerning Church news or converting it into a hostel for pilgrims. Some even suggested demolishing the old building for a new one.
Late Bishop Domingos Lam Ka-tseung had also “considered replacing the old center with a 10-story building", but the idea was dropped due to the Asian economic crisis in the late 1990s.
The working group will compile the suggestions and make public the opinions, but will let Bishop Jose Lai Hung-seng of Macau make the final decision.
I think it is time to re-explore all possibilities,” Bishop Lai said.
The former center, surrounded by schools, a hospital, several big hotels and casinos, is located at the Avenida da Praia Grande and Rua do Campo intersection, which is in the business and administrative hub of the 29.5-sq km territory.
Given its convenient location, Bishop Lai said he hopes the restored or new building can be a place that can demonstrate the evangelization and pastoral efforts of the Church.
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