Residents of the new St. Ann Senior Apartments in Lansford welcomed Bishop John Barres of the Catholic Diocese of Allentown on Tuesday for the dedication of the 17-unit subsidized housing project.
"Today, as we dedicate these apartments, we want to be instruments of a deep engagement with the sacred scriptures, that these apartments have a beautiful spirit, a wonderful faith, and that these scriptures animate the spirit that is lived in these halls, in these apartments, and in the larger community," he said.
"May all who enter this home find Christ's light and love," Barres prayed.
The Bishop spoke of the significance of dedicating the apartments during the Easter season, and of the "power of the risen Christ in our midst."
He read from the Gospel of Luke, of the road to Emmaus, of how the disciples came to recognize their risen Lord. Barres spoke of Christ's wounds, and of the physical and emotional wounds suffered by the elderly.
"We all experience various wounds in life, wounds that may be physical ...," he said.
But the "Lord's wounds touch our wounds, and give us strength and help us to have a perspective, allowing the risen Christ to be right at the center of all that we do and the challenges that we face," he said.
He also spoke of the emotional wounds, of loneliness.
"I think the image of the glorified wounds teaches us, who work with the elderly, and teaches the elderly, that right in the midst of loneliness, the risen Christ illuminates our minds and hearts with His presence," he said.
"Those glorified wounds teach us, in the dark moments of life, that we are never alone. That the light of the risen Christ always shines out to us," Barres said.
Barres blessed the apartments and community room, where the ceremony was held. The choir of St. Katharine Drexel sang, and tours of the apartments were offered.
There are currently eight residents, with two on the waiting list, said Judee Bavaria, chairwoman of the board of directors of Catholic Senior Housing and Health Care Services.
That leaves only seven of the handicapped-accessible apartments vacant.
The building, at 30 E. Bertsch St., is a $3 million project that converted the former St. Ann's school, which was built in 1927 and closed in 1999, into apartments for low income people who are at least 62 years old. The tenants pay up to 30 percent of their incomes in rent. The federal office of Housing and Urban Development contributed $2.5 million of the cost of the project, which has been granted federal nonprofit tax status.
Last August, the Carbon County Board of Assessment Appeals has granted tax-exempt status to the developers, Catholic Senior Housing Development and Management.
The apartments are all accessible to those using wheelchairs or walkers. The entrances are secured, and residents share a common room and laundry facilities. The developers kept mementos of the former school to lend an air of history to the renovated building.