Augustine Hall blessed on June 16

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, right, shared a light moment with Deacon Keith L. McKenzie during the June 16 dedication of Augustine Hall at the corner of Preston and Hill streets. The hall, a recovery center for men fighting alcohol or drug addiction, was created by Deacon McKenzie — and the help of scores of volunteers and donations — completed earlier this year. Several dozen supporters of the deacon’s efforts, which began back in 2005 and survived starts and stops and even a destructive fire, showed up for the noontime celebration. The recovery center has the capacity to house up to ten men. (Record Photo by Glenn Rutherford)

By GLENN RUTHERFORD
Record Editor

After years of struggle and disappointment, Augustine Hall, a recovery center for men struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, was formally dedicated June 16.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz and the center’s creator, Deacon Keith L. McKenzie, stood before a crowd of more than 50 people who attended the blessing ceremony. Both smiled at the turnout, and

Archbishop Kurtz offered thanks for the dedication of Deacon McKenzie and other volunteers and members of the diaconate who made the facility at the corner of Hill and Preston streets a reality.

It took discipline and perseverance to overcome all the obstacles that stood before Deacon McKenzie and his dream of opening such a center, the archbishop noted.

“Just as it takes discipline and commitment by individuals to overcome their problems, to continue their recoveries,” he added. “Recovery from addiction will lead these men back to the families who need them, to the churches who need them and to a community that will benefit from their recovery.”

One such man is already in residence at the home, and he said Augustine Hall is giving him a place — and a chance — to get his “life headed in the right direction again.”

“My disease took hold of me,” he said, referring to his addiction. “Now this place, Deacon Keith and others who’ve helped, are giving me a chance to do something productive with my life. They’re giving me a chance to get involved in my son’s live again.”

And the center and those who are a part of it have given the 31-year-old man “a chance to take responsibility for my life, my actions and my future.”

Augustine Hall’s birth came in stops and starts. Work on the project began in 2005 and Deacon McKenzie believed the task was almost finished, but a fire heavily damaged the building and put the whole project back to square one.

“We were discouraged, but our faith kicked in,” the deacon told those attending the blessing ceremony. “This effort has always been filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit from day one.”

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