Friends of Sacred Heart vow to save church building

Maurice Bedard went to Sacred Heart Church in Sydney for 75 years.

Volunteer group wants to keep Sacred Heart church standing

Maurice Bedard wants to preserve the Sacred Heart Church building. (David Burke/CBC )

Maurice Bedard went to Sacred Heart Church in Sydney for 75 years. 

He started attending the church in 1939 and rarely missed a Sunday. 

Sacred Heart church closed earlier this year, but that's not stopping Bedard and other volunteers from trying to maintain the building. 

"I didn't think it was necessary," he said of closing it. "This was the oldest church and it was in good condition and we had a pretty good congregation here."  

He joined Friends of Sacred Heart Church, a volunteer organization determined to keep the building maintained and hopefully find some use for it.  

Bedard worked as a stationary engineer and inspected the building for the group. 

He moves a little slower after breaking a knee cap last year, but he hauled himself over to the church and examined the furnace and the roof. 

Bedard and the other volunteers are worried that the church will be damaged by the cold if there isn't a plan to heat the building throughout the winter. 

"If they left it without heat, everything would deteriorate and I thought, that's not the way to go. I figured they should maintain the building and keep it and use it for something else, not to demolish it," he said.

Shrinking congregations 

Jane MacNeil is the interim chair of Friends of Sacred Heart. 

"Some people see seniors and they don't know what value they can have, and I see Mr. Bedard and I see a lot of what he can offer. His knowledge alone, it's great, it's invaluable. Where can you get that knowledge?" 

Sacred Heart Church was closed back in June, one of several churches the diocese of Antigonish shut down.

The diocese said several factors lead to the closures, chiefly a lack of money and declining numbers of parishioners and priests.

Friends of Sacred Heart Church and the diocese are discussing the building's future. Bedard will help out in any way he can until he's sure the church is safe.

"I'd like to see more people involved in this maybe we'll have a little more clout," he said. 

The interior of Sacred Heart Church in Sydney. (Facebook)
A committed group of volunteers is trying to maintain Sacred Heart Church in Sydney, even though the church has been closed since June. (Facebook)