Priests at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Hastings will soon be living closer to parish activities thanks to a new rectory under construction and a parishioner's final gift that made it possible.

Work got underway Oct. 7 for the project at 15th Street and O’Connell Drive on the west end of town, starting with the foundation and basement. The Rev. Matt Shireman said construction is scheduled to wrap up in spring 2020.

“We’re hoping to get all the framing up before it gets too cold, then we can do the interior work throughout the winter,” he said.

The goal was to have an adjacent rectory — a name for a priest’s residence — when the church was built in the 1990s, but specific planning for the project started in earnest four years ago, Shireman said. Funding for the rectory was provided in the will of a St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church parishioner.

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Shireman and the church’s pastor, the Rev. Dave Hennen, reside near the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School, closer to downtown Hastings. The new rectory will make it easier for them to attend church events. It also will provide living space for retired priests or other priests in the area.

The church contracted with local businesses on the project, Shireman said. Plans are being worked on to reveal the rectory to the public when the work is completed.

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