The center is located in the business and administrative hub of Macau. (ucanews.com photo)
The redevelopment of a Catholic center in Macau is entering its final stage that will see the dilapidated building reconstructed for use for exhibitions, formations and hospitality, following a public consultation.
"The Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau of Macau opened a public consultation on June 20 to see whether anyone has any objections," Teresa Lo, assistant coordinator of the redevelopment project, told ucanews.com.
The consultation ended July 4 and Macau diocese will now wait for the result and any final amendments of government documents to begin, Lo added.
The Catholic center has been left idle for more than 20 years. The diocese has planned to redevelop it since 2011 but no progress was made until this year.
Local Catholics believed the delay was partly due to the early retirement of Bishop Lai Hung-seng. Bishop Lai retired due to health reasons in January 2016 and was succeeded by Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang, a former auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong.
Macau Diocese released a statement June 23 revealing the plan to turn the former center into a 20-storey building for three purposes, "exhibitions, formations and hospitality."
"Each one of these is expected to contribute to the existing pastoral ministry with its own distinctiveness and interrelatedness," the statement said.
The diocese hopes the new building could become the first Catholic-run hotel in Macau with 200 rooms for pilgrims and visitors.
In addition, public exhibition rooms will display the history of the Catholic Church in Macau and multi-function rooms will be available for faith formation services, as well as evangelization, Lo said.
Many Catholics in the city are excited to hear the announcement and are waiting to witness the opening of the new center.
"There were many debates on whether to renovate or to rebuild the center in the past. But I am happy to hear that it will be reconstructed because the building is dilapidated," Luis Leong, a local Catholic, told ucanews.com.
Since the Catholic center is located in a busy area that bustles with local people and tourists, Leong believes the new building can offer good evangelization opportunities with the exhibition rooms and provide a serene chapel for visitors to pray.
"Things are working well under Bishop Lee and Father Pedro Chong [the diocese's vicar general who is leading the redevelopment project]. We hope it is a sign of the revival of our local church," Leong said.