AURIESVILLE, N.Y. – A Mohawk Valley shrine built on the birthplace of the Roman Catholic Church's first Native American saint needs millions of dollars more in repairs than what was originally estimated, shrine officials said.
Officials at the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville (AW-reez-vihl) told the Daily Gazette of Schenectady (http://bit.ly/1BojGQo) that the repairs needed for the 85-year-old coliseum will cost an estimated $5 million. That's five times the original estimate made in 2013.
The Jesuit order, which owns the site, has launched an international fundraising campaign that has brought in $2.35 million, so far.
Fundraising chairman Joey Caruso said work on various projects stopped when the first $1.7 million was exhausted.
"This money that has already been raised has already been spent," he said. "We had to stop where we were."
The shrine was built in 1930 on a hilltop overlooking the Mohawk River in Montgomery County, 35 miles northwest of Albany. The site was home to a Mohawk Indian village where Kateri Tekakwitha was born in the mid-17th century. The Vatican canonized her in 2012.
The site overlooking the river's south bank also was where three French Jesuit missionaries were martyred in the mid-1600s. All three were later canonized, including St. Isaac Jogues. In 1930, the Jesuits built the National Shrine of the North American Martyrs at Auriesville, featuring a coliseum-style structure that can accommodate 10,000 pilgrims, including seating for 6,500.
Shrine official say the coliseum's electrical system and roof needed repairs, and other infrastructure on the 400-acre property needs upgrading.
The announcement of a $650,000 donation from the Knights of Columbus was scheduled at the shrine Tuesday, with Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York expected to attend. But the death last week of former Cardinal Edward Egan and his funeral Tuesday in Manhattan have forced shrine officials to postpone the event.
Information from: The Daily Gazette, http://www.dailygazette.com/