Quebec Archdiocese reshapes itself as Mass attendance falls

Categories: Latest News

June 12, 2015

Father Pierre Gingras, pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Quebec City, is pictured in a late May photo. Dedicated to the patron saint of French Canadians, the church stands among the high profile churches of both the Quebec archdiocese and Quebec province. Despite being a heritage church, the archdiocese planned to close it because of dwindling membership and massive repairs. (CNS photo/Philippe Vaillancourt)

Father Pierre Gingras, pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Quebec City, is pictured in a late May photo. Dedicated to the patron saint of French Canadians, the church stands among the high profile churches of both the Quebec archdiocese and Quebec province. Despite being a heritage church, the archdiocese planned to close it because of dwindling membership and massive repairs. (CNS photo/Philippe Vaillancourt)

QUEBEC CITY (CNS) — With the decision to close one of its largest and most important churches, the Archdiocese of Quebec is sending a clear message: The future of even the most majestic churches cannot be guaranteed anymore.

On May 24, one last Mass was celebrated in renowned St. John the Baptist Church. Dedicated to the patron saint of French Canadians, the church stands among the high-profile churches of both the archdiocese and Quebec province. Built in the 1880s, it is recognized as a major heritage church. Its seating capacity of 2,400 compares to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.

But such a marvel comes with a steep price: It needs renovations estimated at $10 million, a gargantuan amount for a parish that has been accumulating deficits for years. Even with the help of the archdiocese, the Catholic Church of Quebec simply doesn’t have that kind of money. Not anymore.

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