Church auction ends lengthy fusion process
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.
The non-religious items of two Catholic churches were auctioned off in October.