Nova Scotia

Antigonish church reborn after fire

A small parish in rural Nova Scotia has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to rebuild a church destroyed by fire this spring.

St. Mary's burned to the ground, but parishoners have raised $110,000 and are rebuilding

A small parish in rural Nova Scotia has raised more than $100,000 to rebuild a church destroyed by fire this spring.

St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Maryvale, Antigonish County, burned to the ground in April. At the time, the 150 parishioners pledged to build a new church on the site of the destroyed 170-year-old church.

Ron MacGillivary heads up the building committee. He said the concrete floor is poured and the walls are going up this week.

"It's actually five months later, and that's a pretty quick turnaround," he said Friday. "Even though there was insurance carried on the original church, there was never a guarantee that St. Mary's would be rebuilt."

MacGillivary said given the trend toward closing churches and even selling church property in the area, the rebuild team had to swim upstream.

"There was a concern of rebuilding one that was burnt. They said our circumstances were exceptional," he said, referring to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish.

The diocese agreed to the building of a church and multipurpose building.

Parishioners close to $160K target

Donna O'Brien helped with the fundraising. Even with the insurance cheque, the parishioners still had to raise $160,000 via bake sales, bottle drives, barbeques and donations from local businesses.

They've managed to gather $110,000 so far.

"It is to be used for church purposes and community events related to church activities," she said.

"This community — once you have something in our mind, we want to have it up and ready."

Ron MacGillivary said that shows something of the spirit of the people of Maryvale.

"Obviously it was a huge disappointment to have a church for 150 or more years burn. It was a huge disappointment. The fact that we are able to get it rebuilt again, people are very pleased and very excited," he said.

"It's an absolute glory to see the church being erected."

Parishioners are hoping to celebrate Christmas in their new church.