In 2022, St. Bernard Church was shut down due to various reasons. The 1,300-square-metre building was remembered as the "centerpiece of the town", yet, it was announced that the church is now up for sale.
Selling of St. Bernard Church
The Global News reported that the number of persons attending mass at St. Bernard Church in Nova Scotia dwindled to approximately 30 to 40, resulting in the church's official closure in the summer of 2022. The structure has been put up for sale with an asking price of $250,000. The real estate agents state that it is among the largest churches in eastern Canada and comprises more than 8,000 blocks of granite in its construction.
As per the CTV News, the interior is covered with plaster and decorated with figures of other religions. Douglas fir plywood sourced from British Columbia was utilized to construct the pews and wall panels. However, Suzanne Lefort, a former treasurer of the parish council, stated in an interview that it was estimated that comprehensive repairs would cost more than one million dollars. These repairs would include improvements to the water system, roof, and the 28,000 cubic meter interior of the building.
Lefort, who is 72 years old, expressed the hope that an investor will buy the building and give it a new function for the community's benefit. As mentioned, the president of the Heritage Society of St. Bernard, Jean Le Blanc, stated that he had high hopes that the church would be transformed into apartment units to help alleviate the severe lack of housing in the surrounding rural area.
According to Le Blanc, a study conducted by an architect revealed that the building could function successfully as a housing development with around 28 units if the provincial government or benefactors assisted. He also stated that one of his other hopes is that the artifacts that were housed in the church will be donated to local organizations rather than being sold or thrown away.
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Deconsecration of St. Bernard Church in 2022
According to CBC News, community traditions will end since the landmark church is deconsecrated as the population in the area is decreasing, attendance is reducing, and the building needs many repairs. The process of deconsecration aims to render the building unfit for use either as a place of worship or for secular purposes.
The beautiful Gothic church was the pride of the Acadian town. It was at the center of many significant milestones in Louise LeBlanc's family's history, as she recalls from her childhood in the little community of St. Bernard, Nova Scotia, where she grew up. "I think for us as Acadians, we don't want to see the church go, but we also are very realistic and understand that there's no way a community of our size can keep the church going," she added.
Moreover, the decision was reached after consultation with the Archdiocese of Halifax and Yarmouth. Rev. Robert Doyle, a deacon at the Halifax archdiocese, described the church as the "centerpiece of the town." He expressed sadness and noted that deciding to deconsecrate the chapel was difficult.
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Huge, deconsecrated Roman Catholic church in N.S. Acadian community now up for salehttps://t.co/uoY1ibUf2Ipic.twitter.com/SC0fVYhqXQ— CP24 (@CP24) March 26, 2023