Church auc­tion ends lengthy fu­sion process

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Vic­to­ria Vanier Stanstead

The Paroisse Ste-Trinité de Stanstead held an auc­tion at the for­mer Notre Dame de la Merci church, last Oc­to­ber in the Rock Is­land sec­tor, sell­ing off all of the non-re­li­gious items that be­longed to the for­mer Catholic church where the auc­tion was held and to the for­mer Catholic church in Beebe, Ste-Therese-del’ En­fant-Je­sus. The auc­tion raised a lit­tle over $10,000 while some pre-auc­tion sales of ta­bles and church bells raised another sev­eral thou­sand dol­lars for the re­grouped parish. Most of the re­li­gious arte­facts and items were given back to the Catholic Arch­dio­cese of Sher­brooke, with a few be­ing do­nated to a Catholic Church in Wind­sor that re­cently suf­fered a fire.

The two churches, along with the Beebe pres­bytery, were sold to two in­di­vid­u­als from the Mon­treal area last Au­gust. “All the trans­ac­tions in the fu­sion have been costly; there’s al­ways lots of work to be done with no­taries. Re­li­gion is not a grow­ing business, but it was still hard for ev­ery­one to rally be­hind the changes,” com­mented Ger­ard Gre­nier, the pres­i­dent of the Fabrique de

Ste-Trinité. “There were two main rea­sons for the fu­sion: a lack of priests and the de­crease in the num­ber of parish­ioners. In the four parishes to­gether, in 2011, we had just over three hun­dred. That made it dif­fi­cult to support all four build­ings,” added Mr. Gre­nier, talk­ing also about St. Ephrem Church, of Fitch Bay, which will re­main open along with

Sacré Coeur Church. Of the three Stanstead Catholic churches, one rea­son that Sacré Coeur was cho­sen to re­main open by the parish­ioners was be­cause of its des­ig­na­tion as a re­li­gious her­itage site, thereby giv­ing its own­ers ac­cess to provin­cial gov­ern­ment funds to help pay for ren­o­va­tion work. It was also cho­sen be­cause of its ac­ces­si­bil­ity and its num­ber of parish­ioners.

“We are very aware of all the ef­forts of our par­ents and grand­par­ents that went in to build­ing and main­tain­ing those churches. It felt a lit­tle like be­ing forced to sell your mother and fa­ther’s home. It was a very hard decision. I’d like to thank ev­ery­one who has sup­ported and con­trib­uted to this phe­nom­e­non of how to re­group. We’re very pleased es­pe­cially with the re­ac­tion of the Beebe parish­ioners,” con­cluded Mr. Gre­nier.

photo Ar­chives

The non-re­li­gious items of two Catholic churches were auc­tioned off in Oc­to­ber.

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