BY LUKE COPPEN
OPUS DEl is building a multimillion flagship national centre in the heart of New York City.
The 17-story structure in Manhattan, which will be completed late in 1999 at a cost of $42m (£26.5m), is designed to enhance the personal prelature's presence and prestige in America's largest city.
Opus Dei spokesman, William Schmitt, said that the building's central location would help the organisation to "influence more people" and would stand as a symbol of Opus Dei's mission to strive for holiness in the midst of everyday life.
"There is no more appropriate place to carry out that mission," Schmitt said, "because New York 4 the centre of the world."
Last month Crdinal John O'Connor of Nev York gave his unconditional backing to Opus Dei's worl in the city. However. the Chrch did not contribute to tht building's construction. Tht costs were raised by the Woodlawn Foundation, nn b7 a businessman rembei of Opus Dei.
The building basts lavish facilities. incl ding five chapels, a confernce centre, meeting rooms, ad a library. It will also time living quarters for Opu Dei's new US regional vices: Fr Arse A Panula, who wa appointed on June 29. OpusDei, whose American headimarters are currently in Nes Rochelle. New York State has 3,000 members in to Utited States.
Mr Schmitt szl the new building would help the organisation hed its reputation for sececy.