More cemetery tours coming
Participants then took part in workshops to discuss directions to take and solutions in certain towns where action is a priority. Some of the main ideas agreed upon include the following:
In most cases, religious groups cannot assure the protection and exploitation of churches, cemeteries and road crosses. It’s not possible to save them all so priorities must be established. We must reflect on the criteria to be used for this so as not to cause opposition among groups in the same municipalities. Most importantly, long-term solutions must be found and municipalities must play a role.
We must be imaginative in identifying new vocations if we want to preserve our buildings, often large ones, especially when we are considering the Catholic churches.
The Circuit des cemetieres : work has already begun with Paroles d’outretemps which will allow for tours with computer apps of ten cemeteries in the town of Coaticook. Panels will soon be installed to signpost twenty-four other cemeteries. The number of guided visits of cemeteries should be increased.
In the afternoon, other speakers shared their experiences. Former mayor of Ste-Camille, Claude Larose, spoke about the participation of citizens in the effort to save the church of his village and transform it slowly into a multi-functional centre. Sylvie Cholette and France Levesque, of the organization Les Amis du patrimoine de St-Venant-de-Paquette, spoke of the challenges faced by small rural communities with few resources. Yvon Charbonneau, president of the Societe Heritage Anneplainois, spoke about creating a non-religious group to save a heritage building while keeping the building’s religious activities.
The president of the Comité sur le patrimoine religieux, Jean-Pierre Pelletier, a citizen of Way’s Mills, commented that the presence of Université de Sherbrooke history professors at the symposium showed how the TCCC working with the university’s history students since 2007 has paid off. He was also pleased to see elected officials from the neighbouring MRC, representatives of the Conseil du patrimoine religieux du Quebec and architects who specialize in religious heritage. A complete report will be made after reviewing all of the evaluation sheets left by the participants of this third symposium.