St. Alphonsus Church for sale

Lo­cal so­ci­ety putting in an of­fer


St. Alphonsus Church is for sale and a group that wants to save and re­store the build­ing plans to make an of­fer.

The his­toric church in Vic­to­ria Mines was of­fi­cially closed by the Dio­cese of Antigo­nish last year and had been marked for de­mo­li­tion. But that was put on hold by the dio­cese, pend­ing a pro­posal from the Stone Church Restora­tion So­ci­ety, which wanted to save the build­ing from de­mo­li­tion.

Rev. Don­ald MacGil­livray, spokesman with the Dio­cese of Antigo­nish, said the dio­cese has been in con­ver­sa­tion with the so­ci­ety but with no busi­ness plan forth­com­ing from them, the dio­cese de­cided the time had come to put the church up for sale.

“We have to move along,” he said. “We know as a dio­cese that churches hold a lot of emo­tional stuff for peo­ple and we’re just try­ing to do our best to man­age our prop­er­ties given the cir­cum­stances we’re in, where there’s a need to close churches be­cause we just don’t have the where­withal to be able to sup­port all these build­ings.”

MacGil­livray said selling St. Alphonsus will pro­ceed like ev­ery other church sale the dio­cese has un­der­taken in re­cent years. He said the Stone Church Restora­tion So­ci­ety is welcome to sub­mit an of­fer.

“They’re welcome to put in a bid and it will be judged ac­cord­ingly,” he said. “Just like ev­ery­thing it’s not al­ways just the in­di­vid­ual or group that of­fers the most money nec­es­sar­ily — that is a fac­tor but it’s not the only fac­tor.”

Me­lanie Samp­son, a spokes­woman with the Stone Church Restora­tion So­ci­ety, said the dio­cese con­tacted them ear­lier this week to in­form them the church was go­ing up for sale, with an ask­ing price of $49,900.

“We’re putting in an of­fer hope­fully by the end of the busi­ness day to­day,” she said Thurs­day morn­ing. “For us, time is of the essence and feel we should put in the of­fer as soon as pos­si­ble.”

To date, the so­ci­ety has raised $ 10,000 and this week they’ve put a real push on for do­na­tions to go to­ward the pur­chase of the church. Samp­son said they’ve also had a lot of sup­port from sev­eral mu­nic­i­pal, pro­vin­cial and na­tional her­itage or­ga­ni­za­tions and are hop­ing they may be able to se­cure some fund­ing and as­sis­tance from them.

Samp­son said peo­ple can do­nate a va­ri­ety of ways, in­clud­ing by cash, cheque, PayPal, and at the so­ci­ety’s online fund­ing page, www.­stonechurch.

“If in the event that for some rea­son we’re not suc­cess­ful, all funds will be re­turned,” she said.

The so­ci­ety is hop­ing to pur­chase the for­mer church to turn the build­ing into a wed­ding chapel and tourist at­trac­tion.

“It can be saved,” said Samp­son. “It’s go­ing to mark­ing its 100th an­niver­sary next year and we’re hop­ing that it’ll still be stand­ing be­cause if some­one else po­ten­tially buys the prop­erty we can’t as­sure that it won’t be torn down.”


St. Alphonsus Church in Vic­to­ria Mines, seen in this file photo, is be­ing sold by the Dio­cese of Antigo­ish.

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