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Monastery Ends Building Drive

Monastery Ends Building Drive

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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HUNTSVILLE, Utah (AP) -- The Our Lady of the Holy Trinity monastery has put a halt to its $8.5 million building drive after being able to raise only $300,000.

It is offering to refund donors.

The Rev. Casimir Bernas, abbot of the monastery, said the fund drive just wasn't bringing in enough money to make a new building feasible.

The abbey has been a part of Ogden Valley since 1947, starting with World War II Quonset huts on 1,800 acres of farmland.

The latest building drive started in 2001.

"We decided about two months ago to terminate the campaign because, for one thing, it's a hard time to raise any funds and, especially, a substantial amount," Bernas said.

He compared his plight with that of St. Anne's Center, which serves the homeless in Ogden and also has financial difficulties. The abbey is one of the several religious institutions that makes regular donations to St. Anne's, he said.

"It kind of indicates that all religious endeavors are having a hard time these days," he said.

The abbey tried to get a conservation easement -- selling its rights to develop its 1,800 acres -- but the money for that just wasn't available, he said.

Another option was to sell some of the land for development, but the monks refused to consider that.

He said they "just didn't want to contribute to more development in Ogden Valley unless it were a matter of life and death, and it really wasn't a matter of life and death for our community."

All the people who donated money for the building fund have been offered refunds, he said, and a few have accepted, but most have not, so the remainder will go into the abbey's general fund, "and we'll just have to wait and see what the Lord wills for us."

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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