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Grand Opening for Gonzaga Family Haven

The winds of hope blew briskly between completed buildings of Gonzaga Family Haven on Wednesday morning for the grand opening of the newest Catholic Charities property, just a foul ball’s distance from Gonzaga Prep. The gathering celebrated the culmination of more than three years’ work from planning, construction, and filling the apartments with furnishings for the 73 families that will now have a place to call home.

Rob McCann, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington emphasized the unique nature of this project and key role of education in its success. “Education is going to solve intergenerational poverty long before Catholic Charities ever does,” he said. All three partners – Gonzaga, Gonzaga Prep, and St. Aloysius – are in the field of education and spiritual growth.

Aerial view of Gonzaga Family Haven, courtesy of Catholic CharitiesThe property is the first of its kind for Catholic Charities, providing not only safe housing for families, but also offering a wide range of on-site wraparound services to improve wellness and stability. “This is a Gold Standard project” for future projects in our state, said Lisa Brown, director of the Washington Department of Commerce, who was also in attendance.

"Ultimately, it's all about the people living here," said Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh in his remarks and offering gratitude for the “small part” Gonzaga University will play in the community. Gonzaga students are already lining up to assist as tutors for young students.

Michael DoughertySpeaking on behalf of Gonzaga Prep, President Michael Dougherty echoed the Greatest Commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. “It is with great love that we welcome our neighbors—and we celebrate in a special way today the relationships that have already begun, and with time will flourish, and enrich all of our lives.”

In just the months leading up to the grand opening, Gonzaga Prep students have helped load and unload furniture, held book drives, and sponsored a welcome picnic last fall. Advancement welcomed families to campus for a Santa visit and family photo in December. On this day, members of Prep’s choirs performed “Shelter Your Name,” a music piece with heart and significance to the Prep community.

The program also included a land acknowledgment, a performance by students from the Salish School, Blessing of the property by Bishop Thomas Daly, a Directional Reflection that honored every corner of the property, and self-guided tours.

And while it was too cold to take up McCann’s invitation to use the splash pad, dozens explored the common spaces that will come to life as the third and final building fills with families.