By Alan Hustak for VMO
Sunday, June 1st, 2014
Notre-Dame- de-la Paix in Verdun is being torn down this week to make way for a senior citizen’s residence and community centre. The church was put up for sale eight years ago when the French-language parish amalgamated with Notre-Dame-des-Sept Douleurs to become Notre Dame-de-la-Trinité.
The last Mass was celebrated a year ago. Architectural elements of the handsome landmark building on La Salle Boulevard will be incorporated into the seniors’ centre.
The demolition was approved by the borough, but not without controversy.
“While the seniors project may be worthwhile and be of benefit to the community it didn’t need be at the expense of heritage,” says Heritage Montreal’s Dinu Bumbaru, “The building could have been saved. The idea that you can keep a couple of stones and call it preserving heritage is really deceptive.”
Bumbaru said even if the Diocese of Montreal has since announced a moratorium on the sale of church buildings, “it is really up to the City of Montreal to safeguard our religious patrimony.”
Columnist Gilles Proulx sounded similar sentiments. Writing in the Journal de Montréal, Proulx suggested future generations are being robbed of their cultural heritage.
“A child who will be born tomorrow who asks his parents, ‘what is a church?’ will be told, ‘It used to be a big public building which was converted into condos, or a health spa or a gymnasium. We are creating a generation without any regard for the past,” he writes.
“The strength of the Judeo-Christian tradition has always been to build on what has gone before and to instill in its followers the importance of their own mortality and the importance of the community. We are losing that.”
As a result of the so-called Quiet Revolution, which transformed Quebec into a secular society, Proulx writes, is that the traditional values of French Canada will soon be all but forgotten.
The parish of Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix was incorporated in 1917. The present church was built in 1950 and the first mass in the building was celebrated that year on Christmas Eve.
Last Night at the Gayete
The Centaur Theatre's 2015- season is drawing to a close with its final production of Last Night at the Gayety, a musical comedy by Bowser & Blue which runs until May 22nd.
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