On January 11, 2017, members of the Jesuit Center campaign committee gathered at the Xavier Jesuit Community on New York's 16th Street to celebrate Mass with Fr. John J. Cecero, SJ, provincial of the USA Northeast Province, and to meet the priests and brothers who live in the newly renovated space.
A complete restoration of the St. Ignatius Loyola Jesuit Community is part of the Jesuit Center project, and the 83rd Street community space will be built and designed by Beyer, Blinder and Belle, the same architectural firm that, in 2014, completed the Xavier community transformation.
The campaign dinner began with a liturgy in the community chapel space, celebrated by Fr. Cecero. After the dinner that followed, Fr. Cecero spoke, pointing out that, like the Xavier Jesuit Community, the Jesuit Center will be an important apostolic center and a place that fosters increased collaboration between neighboring works and community organizations. In his remarks to those gathered, Dan Denihan, campaign co-chair, announced that John C. Meditz, fellow co-chair, had contributed an extremely generous $2.5 million lead gift to the fundraising effort. Joe Naylor, CFRE, and Jim Skurka, of the USA Northeast Province, added that other major gifts, foundation grants and naming sponsorships were being considered.
Finally, Fr. Ralph Rivera, SJ, a Jesuit who teaches at Xavier High School and lives in the Xavier Jesuit Community, spoke about the ways the renovated residence space has impacted the lives of the Jesuits who live there, pointing out that both the Xavier space and the Loyola Community were specifically designed to serve the apostolic needs of priests, brothers and those who are welcomed as guests.