Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 12, 2004
Spiritual centre closing
Redemptorist to shut down centre due to dwindling interest
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
The Redemptorist Centre for Growth is closing down after almost two decades of providing counselling and spiritual guidance.
Father Mark Miller, chair of the centre's board of directors, made the announcement in early April. "We don't have the manpower (to operate the centre) anymore," he said, noting that all the Redemptorists who currently live in Edmonton are retired.
Finances are also part of the problem, with the centre operating at a loss for the last few years.
It cost about $200,000 a year to operate the center, but the facility was only bringing in about $120,000 a year. And according to Miller, the endowment fund used to subsidize the centre was not large enough to cover the shortfall.
The centre's four staff members, who include two full-time professional counsellors, are currently looking for work. The centre's building at 10713-85 Ave. may soon be put up for sale.
The centre will close officially June 30. A thanksgiving celebration in recognition of its 20 years of service will be held April 20 at 7 p.m. at Providence Renewal Centre, 3005-119 St.
The centre opened its doors in 1985 under the direction of Father Ray Douziech, who has been serving in Rome since 1999.
It was originally sponsored by the Redemptorists of the Western Canada Province and supported financially by many religious orders, particularly orders of women.
Its mandate was to provide counselling and spiritual direction to all those who needed it, be they members of religious orders, individuals, couples, families or specific interest groups.
The centre began on a shoestring budget with Douziech donating his administrative and counselling talents. Slowly, it grew into a warm, friendly and welcoming place. The centre gradually expanded its scope to include priests and religious from across Canada and overseas, especially Ireland and the United States. Individuals, couples and families were seen regardless of their ability to pay.
In the Edmonton Archdiocese, the centre provided services at Newman Theological College and to archdiocesan-based programs such as Project Rachel. It also served the Anglican Diocese. In recent years the centre provided on-site counselling training to students from St. Stephen's College and Loma Linda University.
At one point the centre was providing services to about 200 clients annually and, in the process, touching the lives of about 1,000 people a year.
According to Miller, the centre began to suffer in the mid-1990s when the flow of religious began to slow down, reducing the number of clients to about seven per year by 2000. The number is even lower now.
When the Redemptorists, who united their Western and Eastern provinces in 1995, began to look at their commitments, they realized that nursing the centre back to health would take more energy than they could muster.
"We have an awful lot of commitments across Canada and few men and so we are in the process of reorganizing our ministries," noted Miller. "And when the issue came up about how we as Redemptorists could be involved, we literally did not have the manpower anymore."