Triumph of the Cross Building Plans Put on Hold

November 16, 2007 - Plans for Steubenville parishes require a second look after the Diocese of Steubenville Finance Council voted Nov. 16 that the assumption of such a large debt to construct a new parish church, which also would serve as the cathedral, is too risky.

Because of the decision of the finance council, plans for Triumph of the Cross Cathedral cannot move forward, despite a successful capital campaign that raised approximately $8.5 million - much of the money is being returned to parishes in the diocese for their use - and bids for the construction coming in as projected, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon said. The amount of cash on hand for the construction would result in an imprudent level of indebtedness for the diocese, the finance council decided, the bishop said; thus steps will be taken immediately to develop a "Plan B."

Triumph of the Cross Parish was established Sept. 14, 2005, after a pastoral plan for the city of Steubenville was implemented by Bishop Conlon. The plan followed two years of study by a task force, empowered by the bishop, to examine the life of the church in the municipality. The new parish church and cathedral was to seat 800 and be a composite of six Steubenville parishes - Holy Name Cathedral, Holy Rosary, St. Anthony, St. Pius the Tenth, St. Stanislaus and Servants of Christ the King.

The bishop will meet with Father Timothy P. McGuire, pastor of Triumph of the Cross, and Father Thomas A. Chillog, diocesan episcopal vicar of pastoral planning and personnel, Monday morning to discuss "where to go from here." Bishop Conlon expects to gather people to aid in developing a Plan B. "We still need to reduce the number of parishes in Steubenville," the bishop said. "There still is the possibility of a new, less expensive church." However, the bishop emphasized, "My ultimate concern is with the spiritual health of the Catholic people of Steubenville, and the diocese as a whole."

Money that has been collected in the historical diocesanwide capital campaign will continue to be held in a completely separate account, pending future planning, the bishop stressed. People with outstanding campaign pledges are invited to continue paying their pledges. Once Plan B is determined, if the people who have pledged are not satisfied, they can request a refund, Bishop Conlon said.

After the finance council meeting, the bishop expressed his appreciation not only to its members but also to Father McGuire and the building committee for Triumph of the Cross for their hard work on the project. At the same time, he acknowledged the disappointment of the many supporters of the project, who had looked forward to a groundbreaking before the end of this year.


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