The consolidation of all the offices of the Washington Roman Catholic Archdiocese -- and its archbishop's residence -- at a new Pastoral Center in Northeast Washington is moving into the final stages.
Archbishop James A. Hickey and his two secretaries, the Rev. Maurice T. Fox and the Rev. Godfrey T. Mosley, have taken up residence in the center at 5001 Eastern Ave., following the sale earlier this summer of the archbishop's residence in Wesley Heights.
The spacious old residence at 5165 Rockwood Pkwy., purchased for $210,000 in 1976 for Hickey's predecessor, Cardinal William W. Baum, was sold for $480,000.
More than a year ago, Hickey announced his plan to move from one of the most affluent Northwest neighborhoods to the more modest Northeast site, where his residence would be under the same roof with diocesan offices.
The archdiocese purchased and extensively renovated the unused St. Francis de Sales Seminary of the Oblate order for the Pastoral Center, with a portion of the second floor revamped for the archbishop's residence. Besides offices, the center also contains meeting rooms, a 200-seat chapel and a newly refurbished and expanded dining room.
Because there are no restaurants in the immediate area, the center provides free soup, coffee and tea for employes at lunch time.
Renovations of the facility included construction of an expanded parking lot. Although there is a bus stop nearby, the nearest Metro stop is Fort Totten, nearly a mile away. A spokesperson for Hickey said arrangements are being made for shuttle service from the Metro station for those who request it.
All major archdiocesan offices have been relocated in the center except the weekly Catholic Standard newspaper and the Office of Missions, which will move before the first of the year. Only Catholic Charities will continue at its present location at 2800 Otis St. NE.
An archdiocesan spokesman said that revenue from the sale of the former residence, the church-owned Catholic Standard building at 1711 N St. NW, and income from the rental of the former chancery at 1721 Rhode Island Ave. NW will eventually cover the $2.15 million purchase price of the property and renovation costs, which are expected to reach $1.2 million when complete.
In addition to providing a residence for the archbishop that signals a simpler life style, the Pastoral Center's consolidation of church agencies is expected to reduce costs and increase efficiency, a spokesman said.
St. Matthew's Cathedral, downtown near the intersection of Rhode Island and Connecticut avenues, continues to be the official seat of the archbishop.