CEDAR LAKE, Indiana — The Coalition for Canceled Priests has launched a fundraising campaign to secure a retreat center in northwest Indiana for priests who have been sidelined by their bishops. The 61-acre property, formerly the Franciscan Lourdes Friary, would act not only as a place of refuge for clergy but also as a liturgical hub for nearby laity.
Father John Lovell co-founded the Coalition. He told LifeSite that the purchase is now under contract and that he’s seeking to raise $2.1 million dollars. Click here to donate.
The property, which has a pond, outdoor stations of the cross, several grottos, and dozens of bedrooms, is located in Cedar Lake, Indiana, which is about an hour southeast of Chicago, just across the Indiana border.
To jumpstart their efforts, members of the Coalition were invited by a group of laity in early April to an undisclosed location in the Midwest to discuss their plans. Lovell, as well as Father Scott DuVall, spoke at the event about the property. DuVall also talked about the vetting process that goes into deciding how the Coalition assists priests in need. LifeSite was on site and conducted multiple interviews. Father James Altman, though not a member of the Coalition, was the evening’s keynote speaker. Altman recently donated $100,000 dollars to the Coalition.
Of the approximately 60 Catholics who attended the private event, most were fearful for their identity being made public because they didn’t want to risk repercussions from their bishops. David Avignone, the newly named Executive Director of the Coalition, told LifeSite that Catholics should not have to live in hiding for defending their priests.
“These priests are simply bringing the Sacraments to the faithful,” he said. “And what happens to them as a result? They get removed from their parishes. They get discriminated against. This much-needed property will ensure these priests have a place to go and to feel supported. I urge all Catholics to assist these faithful shepherds.”
The Coalition will host its one-year anniversary event in Beloit, Wisconsin on Thursday, June 23 and Friday, June 24. Scheduled speakers include Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, Liz Yore, Jesse Romero, Michael Hichborn, Dr. Janet Smith, and Ladies of LifeSite podcast host Stella Moore, among others. Frs. Lovell and Altman will be speaking as well. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.