Sudbury·Audio

Fate of mould-ridden St. Pius X Church rests in bishop's hands

The future of a Sudbury church remains uncertain a year after it was closed because of mould.
St. Pius X Catholic Church in Lively was shut down after health inspectors found mould in the basement. (Erik White/CBC)

The future of a Sudbury church remains uncertain a year after it was closed because of mould.

St. Pius X Catholic Church in Lively was shut down after health inspectors found mould in the basement. Since then, the congregation has been split between neighbouring parishes.

Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe said parishioners have told him they'd like to rebuild rather than repair their church — but he's not sure if that's the way to go.

"Because building a new church doesn't come only with prayers. It comes with dollars."

A new church couldn't be built for less than $3 million, Plouffe said.

It’s been tough news to swallow for parishioner Eleanor Williams, who has been attending St. Pius X for nearly 50 years.

Williams said she and most other parishioners question whether they had to leave. Having the congregation scattered between neighouring parishes has also been tough.

"Not only did it split the community, it split families,” she said.

The Sudbury Health Unit does not comment on individual investigations, but environmental health manager Burgess Hawkins said the public is rarely notified of mould problems, as the health unit does for beach closures.

"Mould is ubiquitous. It is around you at all times,” he said.

“There's no test we can do and say this is an acceptable level of mould."

Plouffe said the mould in St. Pius wasn't visible, but you could smell it.

"Our problem is we don't know exactly. It could be less than what we think and it could be more."

Plouffe said he expects to make a final decision on whether to repair or rebuild St. Pius X before the summer.

In the meantime, the congregation will soon start getting together again, with services held in a Lively Catholic school gymnasium. 

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