New reprieve for the Church of the Blessed Sacrament

We will still have to wait before knowing the fate of the Très-Saint-Sacrement church in Quebec. The Minister of Culture, Nathalie Roy, has just extended her notice of intention to classify the building for one year, since “new information” has been brought to her attention.

The Church of the Most Holy Sacrament is closed.

© Daniel Coulombe / Radio-Canada
The Church of the Most Holy Sacrament is closed.

According to the process provided for at the Ministry of Culture, the minister should have already decided the issue. After filing its opinion last year, it had until May 27, 2021 to make a decision and decide whether the building would be officially listed in the Cultural Heritage Register.

However, Radio-Canada has learned that Nathalie Roy has instead decided to prolong her reflection. His cabinet said this week that it is giving itself one more year to decide whether the building on Chemin Sainte-Foy should be protected.

According to his cabinet, new informationWere transmitted to the minister in recent weeks, justifying taking extra time to assess the future of the church. His press secretary refused to say more and did not comment on the timing of the final decision.

It would be surprising, however, to say that the entire deadline is used.

Renovation work had been started after pieces of the church siding fell in 2017.

© Carl Marchand/Radio-Canada
Renovation work had been started after pieces of the church siding fell in 2017.

Contested ranking

The Church of the Most Blessed Sacrament has been closed to worship and desecrated since 2019. That year, the Dina-Bélanger parish had to condemn the emergency building after having detected structural problems threatening the safety of users. Two years earlier, in 2017, stones from the facing of the church have collapsed, fortunately without causing any injuries.

In the process, the intention of the Catholic Church of Quebec was to part with the church and the land. But the Minister of Culture, Nathalie Roy, thwarted the plans when she filed a notice of intention to classify last May.

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The Church was fiercely opposed and promised to challenge this decision. We are very astonished, very surprised, and to a certain extent, in shock. That church had serious structural problems. We will oppose with all our strength this declaration as a historic monument.», Said Marc Pelchat, priest of the Archdiocese of Quebec.

This position has not changed, we told the diocese of Quebec on Saturday.

The interior of the Most Blessed Sacrament Church during a mass before it closes in 2019.

© / Radio-Canada
The interior of the Most Blessed Sacrament Church during a mass before it closes in 2019.

“Reassuring” study

Minister Nathalie Roy’s decision is better received by the SOS Saint-Sacrement citizen committee, which defends the church and its heritage classification since the closure. The initiator of the movement and resident of the Saint-Sacrement district, Louis Bélanger, sees it as a new reprieve.

It will allow us to work better, to tie more stringsHe said of a community conversion project put forward by the movement. SOS Très-Saint-Sacrement set up a non-profit organization this winter, called Espace communautaire Saint-Sacrement.

We want to create a core of activities»Sufficient to generate rental income. Mr. Bélanger maintains that several neighborhood organizations, including the recreation center, lack space and could benefit from the redevelopment of the church.

Quebec Minister of Culture and Communications Nathalie Roy.

© Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada
Quebec Minister of Culture and Communications Nathalie Roy.

In the process, the movement also paid for an engineering study to assess the quality of the structure of the building, considered dangerous by the parish of Dina-Bélanger. Paid in large part by a budget released by the minister herself, the independent report produced by the firm EMS Engineering was submitted to the government two weeks ago.

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The conclusion is that this is a reassuring study. The structure is in good condition», Reports Louis Bélanger. He does not deny that there are known and obvious problems with the stone facing. However, the study considers that there is no apparent reason to demolish the building».

Louis Bélanger praised the minister’s listening to this file.

With the collaboration of Edith Hammond

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