Last Updated: Wednesday - 01/05/2011
December 10, 2001
Closed parish helps quest for new priests
Some proceeds from sale of church given to seminary
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
GLENEVIS — St. Peter's Parish was closed more than a year ago, but its name will live on through an endowment fund set up for St. Joseph Seminary.
Since the shortage of priests was a primary reason for the closure of the parish, a donation to the seminary seemed a way to be part of the solution for this ongoing problem, Lorraine St. Laurent, a former parishioner, told the WCR.
Former parishioners deemed it right that the money realized from the sale of the church and property be donated to a cause closest to their hearts.
Three options played in their minds, but the majority favoured donating $6,817.40 to the seminary.
"It seems to provide the solution we were looking for, to salvage something positive from our loss," St. Laurent said.
The people are pleased the donation has been made after more than a year of trying to decide what to do with the money.
"I think it went a long way to healing some wounds and I think there is a very good feeling that at least some of the funds went to a possible future solution for this problem of a lack of priests."
Mary Lovick, one former parishioner, said, "If our little donation would help bring at least one priest, this would help us and help not only us but every other parish."
The guidelines of the Archdiocese of Edmonton say the money realized from a sale of a church, that is closed and sold, normally goes to the parish that it was amalgamated with.
People from St. Peter's made an appeal to the archdiocese that they be given another option for what to do with the money since not everyone from their parish decided to go to St. Rose of Lima in Onoway, with which they were joined.
After a long wait, they were given the green light to donate 50 per cent of the money they realized, with stipulations that the money couldn't go out of the archdiocese and that it couldn't be donated to a parish other than St. Rose.
Newman Foundation has a long list of endowment funds, from which Newman College and St. Joseph Seminary receive some of their money to defray operating expenses.
"This donation will surely help the seminary," said Bill Lerner of Newman Foundation.
St. Peter's Parish endowment fund is a restricted one, which means that its earnings will specifically be used by the seminary.
Funds like this one will help pay for operational and maintenance costs and salaries of the formation team.
Six former parishioners of St. Peter's had a chance to meet the seminarians and formation team, when they visited the seminary.
"While it is only half of the net proceeds and not as much as we had hoped, it is presented with our prayers that God will bless our gift and the work of the seminary," St. Laurent told the seminarians and the seminary formation team.
St. Laurent reminded the seminarians, "It is faith that compels people to form a parish and faith that motivates them to build and maintain a church."
"And when reality, like terminal illness, brings about an end to that structure, faith will provide them the strength, comfort and hope to accept and go forward."
"But in the process, they will need your support, your sensitivity, your understanding and compassion," emphasized St. Laurent.
St. Laurent and other former parishioners, not meaning to criticize the archdiocese, say they believe that "those who planned the restructuring underestimated the traumatic effect and the depths of loss to people."
She believes that the archdiocese relied more on the pastors to provide the compassion and sensitivity needed by the people.
"But I think our pastors were trained . . . more to build churches than to close them."
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