Canadian Police Arrests Two Men for Causing Fire at Historic Church

Pixabay/István Asztalos

A fire destroyed a church that had been standing for 121 years in Northern Albania. Two men have been arrested and charged with arson after it was discovered that they broke into the church to commit theft and then set it on fire.

Fire at St. Bernard's Church

Since May 2021, when some unidentified graves were discovered at a residential school, there have been approximately 70 attacks on churches in Canada. According to a report from Catholic News World, a fire broke out in a church in Alberta, Canada, on Monday, May 22, at approximately 3:30 p.m., and the High Prairie Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the local fire department raced to the scene. The venerable St. Bernard's Church in Grouard, which had stood there for centuries, was gutted by fire. There were no reports of any injuries. On the other hand, Kenneth Ferguson, age 56, and Gerald Capot, age 50, were arrested and charged with burglary and arson, and on Monday, May 29, they are scheduled for a hearing in court in High Prairie.

As per Vision Times, Chief Jason Cottingham of the fire department stated on Tuesday, May 23, that the fire was fought for six hours. Although firemen arrived within five minutes after receiving the call, the fire was believed to have been "growing inside the structure for some time." Cottingham added that firefighters in Grouard ran out of water and had to begin transporting water from Lesser Slave Lake at one point. As mentioned, in recent years, far-left organizations have attacked and vandalized churches due to their association with the residential school system, which is widely believed to have murdered native children at the turn of the 20th century. Between 1894 and 1961, the St. Bernard Mission School operated in the area, and a 2022 survey uncovered 169 potential grave sites.

Moreover, Lorrie Anderson, a resident of Grouard, claimed to have a personal and familial connection to the church and the residential school system. She noted that many individuals, including my deceased parents, have been affected by this residential school information. Kookum, his grandmother, was also reared on a mission. "I just can't see any reason for somebody to set that church on fire…All they did was break the people. All for what, a little bit of fun?" she noted.

Also Read:Cherry Grove Man Allegedly Set Series of WildFires in Alberta, Destroying Church

Church Leader Expressed Grieves on Losing Historic Church

Based on a report from the Catholic News Agency, on Tuesday, May 23, Archbishop Gérard Pettipas, CSsR, stated in response to the fire that occurred on Monday, May 22, and destroyed the historic St. Bernard Catholic Church. In his remarks, the archbishop referred to St. Bernard as a location with significant historical importance. He was deeply saddened by the destruction of the church and regretted the circumstances that caused it. "I am not overcome by this loss. Nobody lost their life in this fire," he asserted.

Accordingly, even though a building of worship was destroyed, the body of Christ, which is the people of God, continues to exist. The flames of faith sparked there will not be extinguished even though the building has been wrecked. The gospel that Jesus Christ brought is as relevant and vital as before. The church leader also noted that the structure was the first cathedral of the diocese and that it was constructed at the time when Bishop Emile Grouard, the episcopal vicar of Athabasca, decided to make Lesser Slave Lake Post the seat of his diocese.

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