Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

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Quebec grants $18.6M to restore churches, but excludes Très Saint Nom de Jésus

Culture Minister Christine St-Pierre has announced $18.6 million in grants to restore some 100 Quebec churches, but not a penny for a century-old Montreal church whose richly-decorated interior includes a prized Casavant organ.

“I find it scandalous,” said Robert Cadotte, a Hochelaga-Maisonneuve resident who heads the citizens’ committee fighting to save the Très Saint Nom de Jésus church on Adam St., east of Pie IX Blvd.

Cadotte said he was “shocked” when he found out that the list of Quebec City churches earmarked for grants includes $25,483 to restore the roof of the Saint Zépherin church, which was awarded a C classification in a 2003-04 inventory by the Conseil du patrimoine religieux du Québec.

That same inventory awarded a C to the Montreal church, which a culture ministry official in a Sept. 20 rejection letter said demonstrated it not have “the exceptional value of some other churches.”

The same inventory gave the church’s gilded interior an A.

Said Cadotte: “According to Madame St. Pierre’s own, criteria she could help restore the church, but she refuses to do so.”

According to Valerie Rodrigue, St. Pierre’s press aide, all the grants announce Tuesday were for churches that are functioning. The Très Saint Nom de Jésus has been closed since June 2009 because the interior is considered dangerous.

To Cadotte, this shows the culture department “is supporting religions, not heritage buildings.”

There is a bright spot, however, in that St. Pierre told RDI that her department is open to a new vocation for Très Saint Nom de Jésus.

She noted there are funds for cultural initiatives, but they can only be offered in conjunction with financial support from municipalities or private sources.

On Thursday, activists are to unveil details of a plan to transform the church into a Maison de l’orgue, for performances and to house other quality instruments.

But for now, “the building and the organ are in danger,” said Réjean Charbonneau, director of the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve historical society.

“We are extremely disappointed that Madame St. Pierre can’t provide temporary funding now that the Archdiocese of Montreal no longer supports the church.

“It contains heritage treasures that have been poorly evaluated and it would have been nice to get a little something to protect them,” Charbonneau said.

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