Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
August 31, 2009
Creaky country church retires before it crumbles
Lac Ste. Anne Church bends when it blows, has no space for children or pastor
Oblate Father Alex Carrier pastors the Lac Ste Anne Parish. He also serves the Alexis Reserve (Our Lady of the Lake) and Paul Band (St. Paul's).
The annual pilgrimage at Lac Ste Anne is a separate entity from the parish.
"The church has been used during the pilgrimage for adoration and silent prayer. It's always been open for the pilgrimage. People come in and have moments of prayer, reflection and quiet moments.
"The fact that it's been there for so long it has been a source of inspiration, but it's not a major portion of the pilgrimage."
While the church has served as the hub for the Catholic Parish of Ste. Anne for almost 80 years, it is now deemed unsafe. The walls are bulging at the seams.
"It doesn't have washrooms. It doesn't have an office for the priest. It seats about 110 if you squish them in. It doesn't have, really, a big enough seating area. We only have the one centre aisle, which makes Communions difficult when there's a large crowd," said Walters.
An average number at Sunday Mass is 80 people, but it's common for more than 200 to attend funerals, and Easter is a busy time as well.
Midnight Mass at Christmastime is held at the community hall because the church cannot accommodate the larger crowd.
Other problems that have cropped up include flowers out front attracting bumblebees and the limited access for those in wheelchairs or poor mobility. With a one-room church, children attend Sunday school in a small trailer beside the church, which Walters said is not a good option during a cold winter.
"If you have younger children who cry during Mass, they have to be taken outside, which isn't a good thing in the wintertime either. All of these little things don't sound like big issues until you go through them yourself.
"If you have children who need to use the washroom, where do you take them? It gets to be a big issue," she said.
"It's not what a modern-day church expects to do. Modern-day people don't expect to have to put up with these things."
The basement is already poured for the new church, mere feet from the existing structure. The anticipated completion date is around Christmas.
Those who wish to support the new building program can send a donation to the parish at PO Box 118, Alberta Beach, Alberta T0E 0A0.
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