Riverview Catholic church completes $1M renovation

Riverview's Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic church congregation celebrated the completion of a $1 million renovation on Tuesday.

After successful fundraising Immaculate Heart of Mary parishioners celebrate refurbished home

Riverview's Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic church congregation celebrated the completion of a $1 million renovation on Tuesday.
The renovations are now complete at Riverview's Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic church after parishioners raised $1 million to save the building. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

The church is the biggest in the Riverview area with 1,200 parishioners. There have been water problems stemming from a leaky roof since it was built in 1992.

Unlike many congregations, church attendance at Immaculate Heart of Mary is not shrinking and members decided they would raise the money to properly repair the building.

Al Kavanaugh and Debbie Brine, co-chairs of the church's fundraising campaign, say after doing small repairs for years it feels good to know the building will now last.

"We developed the campaign to refurbish the entire outside of the building and make the outside of the building a structure that will withstand the test of time and be here for our children and grandchildren," said Brine.

The contractor finished the repairs on time and on budget.

"It was a team effort, right from the get-go," said Kavanaugh. "And we're just so happy with the results." 

Campaign a community effort

The fundraising campaign was launched in Sept. 2012.

Brine calls it a labour of love for everyone involved.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary church congregation celebrated in their newly renovated building on Tuesday after a successful fundraising campaign and a renovation that came in on time and on budget. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

"There are windows where children designed the stained glass so it's very much a community effort - the inside as well as the outside," she said.

"But it is the people in this parish that bring it to life. We've managed to reconcile the challenges with the structure itself but we've always had a parish that is very community driven and very close and now we have a structure they can stay in for many years to come." 

Kavanaugh says knowing the project is complete gives him a sense of relief.

"We did it, we've done it right this time and we're very happy and the load off our shoulders — you can't describe the feeling that I have this morning."

Brine says $1 million is a lot of money for a small community to raise but she never had any doubt they would be able to do it.

"Our church is strong, our faith is enduring and we have a parish here that is welcoming and understanding … healthy and vibrant with lots of children in the pews."

Kavanaugh says donations came from citizens, companies and churches of all denominations.