Archdiocese puts N.J. vacation villa up for auction


The Ro­man Cath­ol­ic Arch­diocese of Phil­adelphia, ex­pect­ing a $6 mil­lion de­fi­cit this year, has put its 11-bed­room  beach­front res­id­ence in Vent­or, N.J., up for auc­tion.

Villa St. Joseph by the Sea, built in 1905, has served as a va­ca­tion home for re­tired priests since 1963.

ldquo;We just can’t af­ford to main­tain and hold as­sets like Villa St. Joseph by the Sea and my res­id­ence,” Arch­bish­op Charles Chaput, the cur­rent lead­er of the Arch­diocese of Phil­adelphia, stated in the news re­lease Monday. “Hold­ing onto these prop­er­ties at this time would be in­con­sist­ent with the mis­sion of our church.”

Max Spann Real Es­tate and Auc­tion Com­pany is plan­ning to auc­tion the res­id­ence at 1 p.m. Sept. 15. The res­id­ence is fea­tured on the com­pany’s Web site as a 9,800-square-foot beach­front es­tate with 125 feet of ocean front­age. It of­fers “breath­tak­ing views of the beach and ocean,” an el­eg­ant foy­er and a “stun­ning stair­case,” ac­cord­ing to the Web site.

The va­ca­tion home be­came a point of  in con­tro­versy in XX after The Phil­adelphia In­quirer re­por­ted that Car­din­al An­thony Bevilac­qua, when he was arch­bish­op, ordered $500,000 in renov­a­tions to the prop­erty while the arch­diocese was clos­ing schools and par­ishes.

In ad­di­tion to selling the villa, the  arch­diocese said it would sell its 20,000- square-foot Holy Fam­ily Cen­ter on 227 N. 18th St., part of a park­ing lot at 17th and Vine streets, and the Mary Im­macu­late Cen­ter, a spir­itu­al re­treat cen­ter, in Northamp­ton Town­ship.

No money is owed on the prop­er­ties, said Donna Far­rell, the arch­diocese’s dir­ect­or of com­mu­nic­a­tion.

The arch­diocese ex­pects a $6 mil­lion de­fi­cit in its cur­rent fisc­al year, which began in Ju­ly. That fig­ure doesn’t count any “ex­traordin­ary costs” such as money spent on the in­vest­ig­a­tion of priests that Chaput’s pre­de­cessor, Car­din­al Justin Rigali, put on leave be­cause of sexu­al mis­con­duct al­leg­a­tions. Earli­er this year, Chaput said the arch­diocese had spent $11.6 mil­lion up to this March on those probes, law­suits, and in­vest­ig­at­ing a $900,000 em­bez­zle­ment.

Far­rell said the arch­diocese is not pro­ject­ing how much money the prop­er­ties will bring in.

“We do hope that the sales as­sist with the cash flow is­sues caused by de­fi­cits,” Far­rell stated in an e-mail to the North­east Times.

Any sales of arch­dioces­an as­sets val­ued at more than $7.5 mil­lion must be ap­proved by the Vat­ic­an, she said. ••

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