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by Brad Aubin

Our Lady of Sorrows (OLS) Church is “in a financial crisis” according to Bishop Marcel Damphousse, who attended a parish meeting on Monday, Nov. 27 to discuss the future of the local church. Damphousse, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sault Ste-Marie, and Diocesan Financial Administrator Ted Hargreaves met with around 40 parishioners to address their huge deficit and look at possible solutions. It was noted that the church brings in about $52,000 per year, but needs $108,000 to run.

“This is an open meeting all about transparency, honesty and helping one another move forward together,” said the bishop, noting they had already met Nov. 22 after an initial meeting with the parish’s finance committee, when he and Hargreaves had become alarmed about the state of OLS’ finances. “Hopefully we will come to some conclusion, some sense at the end of the meeting to have an idea of where we’re going.”

Several ideas were suggested, including selling the rectory and having a visiting priest for weekend masses. “Between 120 parishioners, the different schools, sacramental preparation, the sick, funerals, as well as holy seasonal demands, in addition to (…) Holy Spirit in Garden Village, we believe that the community will not receive sufficient faith nourishment and support for growth with visiting church clergy,” said Hargreaves.  

The bishop agreed. “It’s not as if a neighboring parish close by is doing super well that could pick up Father Raj’s salary if they’d wish. I don’t see that happening here in Sturgeon Falls. [...]  If you’re doing away with your pastor, you’re doing away with a lot of pastoral services that you would no longer have. To me, that’s the last thing I want to do for you,” he stated.

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Our Lady of Sorrows Church, on the corner of John and King St., is facing a financial crisis.

Church deficit leads to talk of amalgamation, need for bigger collection