Huge Catholic center planned for northern Smith County

Local News

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A Catholic organization plans to develop a $22 million residential community with education and retreat facilities called Veritatis Splendor on 600 acres near Winona.

“At the center of Veritatis Splendor will be a grand oratory, conceived in the architecture and structure of the Italian cathedrals erected in places like Siena, Florence and Assisi,” said information released about the development. “It will also be a place of pilgrimage for those who want to study, pray and revitalize their family and individual spiritual life.”

The oratory will be maintained by a community of priests who will live at Veritatis Splendor.

Photo from Veritatis Splendor website

Plans call for Veritatis Spendor to eventually house a K-12 and university program as well as institutes on law, life, human rights, liberty, media and culture. Each institute will have an executive director who will lead and administer the specific mission of the institute.

There also will be an on-site community, with recreational facilities for residents and guests including pools, archery and gun ranges, equestrian center, fishing piers, hunting areas and sports fields.

Kari Beckman, founder of the hybrid home-school organization Regina Caeli Academy, envisioned the center as she struggled with social isolation during the pandemic.

“It became very clear to me,” Beckman said of the pandemic and recent cultural pressures, “… that we must preserve the faith right now. This is just round No. 1 of the crisis, and what the future holds could be much worse. If we as laypeople don’t preserve what we have and truly guard it as the precious gift that it is, with every ounce of our being, then we’re going to lose it,” she is quoted in The Catholic Register.

Beckman contacted Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler about a possible development in East Texas. Developers acquired the land from a local businessman who is Catholic, the news story said.

Bishop Strickland will serve as spiritual adviser to the community. Strickland said in the news story that he sees Veritatis Splendor “as a community of support.”

A capital campaign and crowdsourcing will be used to help raise the money.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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