The Diocese of Joliet is moving forward toward an agreement to sell the St. Charles Borromeo Pastoral Center in Romeoville to Lewis University, while at the same time announcing it has purchased a never occupied property at 16501 Weber Road in Crest Hill.
The diocese will relocate its staff from three separate sites – the St. Charles Borromeo Pastoral Center in Romeoville, as well as the Chancery and the Tribunal in Joliet – into the new location, said Doug Delaney, the executive assistant to Bishop R. Daniel Conlon.
The new facility will be known as the Blanchette Catholic Center. Bishop Romeo R. Blanchette was the second Bishop and a native of the Diocese of Joliet.
Lewis University first expressed its interest in the adjoining diocesan property 18 years ago.
Both former Bishops Joseph L. Imesch and J. Peter Sartain commissioned studies to determine the feasibility of consolidating all diocesan offices at the Romeoville site; both studies deemed this plan impractical.
“We are very blessed to have the opportunity to sell the St. Charles Borromeo Pastoral Center to Lewis University,” said Bishop Conlon, “and we are equally blessed to have found a suitable property to move all of the Curia staff under one roof. It will make collaborating and working together much easier. I know change is always difficult, but this is a positive move that will help us in our mission to spread the Gospel.”
The addition of about 25,000 square feet to unify the existing structures, the center will be spacious enough to house all staff except for Catholic Charities.
“It is expected that the move to the new location in Crest Hill will take place a year or so from now," Delany said. "The goal is to include the Catholic Charities staff in the future, once funding is available to expand the new facility further.”
The St. Charles Borromeo Pastoral Center was built as a high school and college seminary, but the diocese later converted it into a center that housed diocesan agencies, along with being a place for retreats and religious classes.
Meanwhile, the Chancery Building on Summit Street in Joliet houses the office of the Bishop, the Auxiliary Bishop, administrative staff and finance offices.
The Diocesan Tribunal is housed in a building on Bridge Street nearby and Catholic Charities’ administrative staff is located at 203 N Ottawa St.
No decision has been made regarding future uses of the Chancery, Tribunal and Catholic Charities buildings.
Lewis University will use the St. Charles Borromeo Pastoral Center as a place for classes and to house students.