Court approves sale of 43 Catholic church properties to settle claims of abuse victims
The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador has approved the sale of 43 properties owned by the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of St. John’s, including 13 churches, as dozens more church property sales loom in the future. eastern Newfoundland.
The move will reshape the landscape for Catholics in the St. John’s area and beyond, as the church – which has been held responsible for sexual and physical abuse at the Mount Cashel orphanage – raises funds to settle the claims of victims from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.
The sales information arrived on Monday as Ernst & Young, the court-appointed monitor, presented a report to the court on the competitive bidding sale process which saw bids for the properties submitted in early June.
A bankruptcy and insolvency court order posted on the Ernst & Young website sheds light on who is buying the properties. The order said the iconic Cathedral Basilica and Pastoral Center, St. Bonaventure College and St. Bon Forum will be sold to the Basilica Heritage Foundation, which is committed to protecting historic properties.
St. Teresa’s Mundy Pond Corporation was recommended as the successful bidder for St. Teresa’s Church, while the Archdiocesan Renewal Corporation, which counts Archbishop of St. John’s Peter Hundt as one of three trustees, purchased St. Thomas de Villanova Church and its vacant lot. Both groups aim to keep these parishes active.
However, the fate of many other Catholic churches is less certain.
In a letter read to parishioners at Mass last weekend, Archbishop Hundt says only a few of the buyers intend to use the buildings as Catholic churches.
In east St. John’s, the Association of New Canadians purchased St. Pius X Church and adjacent St. Pius X High School, where the group already offers newcomer programs at the old school .
St. Patrick’s Church in downtown St. John’s has been sold to Howard Real Estate Group. The Corpus Christi Church, office and community center have been sold to law firm Stewart McKelvey, which is acting as agent for an unknown buyer.
St. Paul’s Parish in east St. John’s has also been approved for sale.
The town of Flatrock purchases St. Michael’s Church and Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto – a site Pope John Paul II visited in 1984.
Different numbered companies purchased Mary Queen of Peace Church in St. John’s and St. Joseph’s Church in Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove.
At Pouch Cove, St. Agnes Church and Rectory were sold to GJ Shortall Ltd., and St. Francis of Assisi Church, Archbishop’s Residence, Rectory and 2 parcels of vacant land were sold to Rocky Hill Holdings Inc.
According to the court, 19 properties did not receive acceptable offers, including St. Peter’s Church and Mary Queen of the World Church in Mount Pearl, St. Paul’s Church in St. John’s, St. Holy Family in Paradise, St. Edward’s in Conception Bay South and Holy Trinity in Torbay. A number of vacant plots and parsonages have also not received acceptable offers.
The combined total value of 41 of the 42 properties is $20.6 million. St. Paul Parish was added to the list after the tabulation.
Meanwhile, Hundt says the comptroller will also present a strategy to the court to sell 70 other properties, including all of the remaining churches, halls and parsonages located on the Burin Peninsula and the southern Avalon Peninsula.
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