By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
Within a three-day period known as “raise the roof,” 20 volunteers placed walls and a roof on the Pope Francis House, a new Habitat for Humanity home located on Hazelwood Avenue. Next door, on May 30, another soon-to-be home — sponsored by religious communities serving in the Archdiocese of Louisville — will get the same treatment.
The Pope Francis House, sponsored by an anonymous donor in honor of the pope, was blessed on April 25 by Father Mark Spalding, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Louisville, and Mustafa Mohamed from Guiding Light Islamic Center.
Father Spalding said during the blessing, “This house is not only a dwelling, but a symbol of God’s loving care.”
The site will be the home of Ahmed Xasan, his wife Iisho Hasan and their seven children, who range in age from two months to 14 years old. Xasan and his wife are from Somalia and have lived in the United States for 10 years.
With the framework now in place, a group of 12 to 15 volunteers will work two days a week to complete the four-bedroom house. A total of 400 volunteers — from Catholic parishes, corporations and across the community — will work on the house. More volunteers are still needed to work on the Pope Francis House. Those interested in
volunteering may sign up at https://vhub.at/honorandwake.
Xasan has been working on the house, as well, and according to Lisa Echsner, director of marketing and development for Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville, he has completed the 400 hours of work required of the homeowner.
The Pope Francis House on Hazelwood is the sixth Habitat home to be sponsored by this anonymous donor in honor of the pontiff.
In late May, work will begin in earnest on the Wake Up the World House, which will be brought to life by men and women religious who serve in the archdiocese.
The Wake Up the World House will be built in observance of the Year of Consecrated Life. Pope Francis declared in 2013 that a Year of Consecrated Life would be celebrated around the world starting on Nov. 30, 2014, the first Sunday of Advent, and ending on World Day for Consecrated Life, Feb. 2, 2016.
“Wake Up the World” is the slogan of the Year of Consecrated Life. Religious communities are involved in service projects and prayer services during this special year and are encouraged to share their lifestyles and vocation stories with the wider community.
Ursuline Sister Janet Marie Peterworth, who coordinated the collection of funds, said 17 religious communities raised more than $45,000 to sponsor the Habitat house.
According to Sister Nancy Gerth, vocation director for the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, 200 volunteers — comprised of sisters, brothers, priests and some lay people with ties to the religious communities — will build the house.
The “raise the roof” days for this house will be May 28 to 30 and will culminate with the blessing. Following those three days, 12 volunteers will work on the house each Saturday between the months of May and August.
Sister Gerth said the projected completion date is Aug. 29, providing there isn’t any bad weather to slow them down.
Sister Peterworth called the project “exciting” and said, “It’s a wonderful example of collaboration between men and women’s communities.”
Members of religious communities who are too ill or elderly to help with the build are taking part by writing messages for the family on boards that will be used to build the house.
The Wake Up the World House will become the home of a Somali family that has eight children.
During the ceremony to bless the Pope Francis House, Rob Locke — who is the CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville — said these projects allow people to be “God’s hands and feet.”
“We sense God alive in the world during these projects,” he said.