Cathedral Revises Capital Campaign, Seeks New Site for Homeless Ministry

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception plans to build a New Donnelly Center at 11th and Broadway that would provide event space and house parish offices. (Rendering by SFS Architecture)

By Kevin Collison

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception has revamped its $14 million capital campaign, dropping plans for a new space for its homeless breakfast ministry and instead seeking another downtown location for the program.

The cathedral, the seat of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, had planned to renovate its existing rectory at 416 W. 12th St. for its Morning Glory Ministries program, but has scrapped the idea and will instead demolish the building to provide more parking.

“We’ve had conversations with potential (Morning Glory) locations, but nothing definite yet,” said the Rev. Paul Turner, pastor of the Cathedral parish.

“Once we know, this capital project will be ready to roll.”

The “Building Glory” capital campaign also plans to demolish the existing Donnelly Hall building on Broadway and replace it with a new facility connected to the church that will include an event space for 300- to 400 people, a welcome center and gift shop.

The revised plan for the Cathedral capital campaign calls for relocating the Morning Glory Ministries at a new location. It has been operating from the Donnelly Center on Broadway at the church campus.

The campaign has raised about $6 million so far.

“The whole project will come under $14 million,” Turner said. “We’re not concerned about it. We believe it has tremendous support from the downtown community.”

Donnelly Hall, originally the parish school, was renovated years ago to become a community center and kitchen. The Morning Glory program serves about 100 meals six days a week from there to homeless people.

People using its services line up on Broadway sidewalk between 11th and 12 streets before being admitted.

The original concept for the campaign had planned to renovate the 1950s vintage rectory for the Morning Glory program, but a variety of concerns prompted the Cathedral to back off the idea and look elsewhere.

“We’ve had some pushback from people in the area,” Turner said. “Some is to point out we need a place of dignity for people. We agree that lining up people on Broadway is not conducive to that. We can do better.

Church officials have decided to raze the old rectory building instead of renovating it to be a new space for the Morning Glory Ministries program.

“We also had local businesses reach out to say their own employees would like to walk out into a community with more dignity.”

Turner said the Cathedral would like to find a location for Morning Glory that’s both welcoming and keeps its Catholic social justice tradition.

“We’ve had conversations with various people, all downtown, and we’re close,” he said. “If anyone has an idea, we’d love to hear from them. We’ve had several ideas in the hopper but nothing has landed yet.”

The decision to demolish the rectory and the current Donnelly Hall now means the Building Glory campaign will raze all the buildings on the current Cathedral campus except the church.

The two-story 13,000 square foot New Donnelly Hall will also house parish offices, meeting rooms, a reception area, a bridal room, a catered kitchen and additional storage, according to the Building Glory website.

Turner said the expanded parking lot will be designed to improve visibility of the Cathedral church and make it more accessible.

“The aesthetics are important,” he said. “We are planning attractive landscaping, better sight lines of the cathedral and better pedestrian access.”

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