Nfld. & Labrador

Catholic parish closing churches in Harbour Grace, Spaniard's Bay

The iconic Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic church in Harbour Grace will close permanently, in the wake of a new parish decision that will also see a Spaniard's Bay church close.
Immaculate Conception church in Harbour Grace was built in 1892 and is a registered heritage structure. (CBC/Mark Quinn)

The iconic Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic church in Harbour Grace will close permanently, in the wake of a new parish decision that will also see another church shuttered. 

St. Anne's Church in Spaniard's Bay will also close for good, with the remaining church in the parish — St. Joseph's in Riverhead — left to serve parishioners. 

Sources tell CBC News that dwindling congregation numbers sealed the fate for the Harbour Grace and Spaniard's Bay churches. 

St. Joseph's can seat about 200 people, enough for the number of church-goers who still regularly attend mass each Sunday.

The area's parish has about 1,200 members.
The Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic church in Harbour Grace is slated to close permanently. (CBC)

In September 2013, parishioners at Immaculate Conception in Harbour Grace, which is also a registered provincial heritage structure, were given a presentation by the parish council outlining the struggles facing churches in the area.

The parish council announced at the time that it had been contacted by a third party interested in buying the former cathedral, but no decision had been made.

Immaculate Conception had been under restoration since 1987, with about $3.5 million having gone into the work. Half of the money came from the provincial government, while the rest came from donations.

It's not yet known what will become of Harbour Grace's high-profile sandstone church. 

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