Google+ Followers

Monday, July 10, 2017

A decision has to be made

On Friday, July 7, 2017, Radio-Canada (CBC's French-language website) published an article about the situation being faced by the Catholic community in Elliot Lake, Ontario.

Following is a translation of that article:


One church in Elliot Lake has to close, and it will be up to the parishioners to choose which one

An engineer hired by the Diocese of Sault Ste-Marie concludes in his report that the two churches in Elliot Lake need important renovations.  Due to financial concerns, one will have to close in order to allow the other to survive and the decision rests in the hands of the parishioners.

(Text by Frédéric Projean)

His Excellency, Marcel Damphouse, Bishop of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, confirmed to Radio-Canada that the parishioners will have the delicate task of determining whether they will keep Ste-Marie - the French-language church - or Our Lady of Fatima - the English-language church.

They are already sharing a bilingual priest.

Community involvement
Bishop Damphousse affirms that the decision rests in the hands of the two communities.

He hopes that the parishes will talk about this decision with their new pastor, Father Anthony Man-Son-Hing, and that they will provide him with their recommendations by October of this year.

According to His Excellency, the publication of the engineer's report - the details of which he did not want to share - provides all the information that is needed in order to make the best possible decision.
The Bishop of Sault Ste. Marie hopes that the parishioners will base their decision on facts and not merely on their emotions.

A choice needs to be made
The status quo is not an option because of the financial difficulties being faced by both parishes.  If the Francophones and Anglophones of Elliot Lake are unable to reach agreement, the Bishop will make the decision.

One of the church buildings will be sold and the profits will be deposited into the account of the parish that remains.  Regardless of the conclusion, Bishop Damphousse maintains that neither building will be demolished.  Only the old rectory attached to the church of Ste-Marie will be demolished.

The church of Our Lady of Fatima was built in 1970, while the building that houses Ste-Marie gathered the Francophone community for its first Mass in 1962.  The rectory at Ste-Marie dates back to 1960.


Subsequent to the article which was published on Friday, July 7, a second article was published today, in which various reactions to the news were outlined.  What follows is a translation of the second article which was published in French.

Reactions to the necessity of a church closure in Elliot Lake
In this article, we explain that both the French and the English churches are facing important financial difficulties.  The Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie is asking the parishioners to agree among themselves and to decide which of the two places of worship they would like to keep open.

Internet users were swift to react to the article published this past Friday.

Pierre Tellier says: Religion is not important in life.  If parents teach their children good morals, we don't need churches.

Michel Labonté does not agree with Mister Tellier.  He feels that: God is the Source of all good and that Faculties of Catholic Theology exist in various major Catholic universities.  He says: Good morals are rooted in Holy Scriptures, especially in the four Gospels.  In addition, in order to grow spiritually, Catholic believers need to receive the sacraments which are the signes of the presence of God who comes to encounter human beings through the mediation of a priest.


For Thérèse Johnston, Marguerite Dillon and Carole A. Girard, the dilemma faced by the people of Elliot Lake and the closure of one of the churches is just a sad situation.

As to the decision
The Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie is allowing a period of time (until the end of October of this year) for the parishioners of Elliot Lake to make their decision about the future of their parish; if no decision has been made by that time, His Excellency, Marcel Damphousse will have the last word.
Post a Comment