The renovations to the roof of Assumption Church in Windsor are nearly done and the church will open in September.
Congregants gathered at the historic church to hear the good news on Thursday morning.
"I never lost hope,” Bishop Ronald Fabbro told reporters after the service. “I knew that when I came here, the people of Assumption were praying and I never lost hope, but it was a journey alright."
He’s referring to the multiple fundraising efforts to renovate the 174-year-old church that fell through over the past decade.
Now, he says there’s a sense of renewed hope among parishioners.
"Coming back to the church will be a sign that we're committed to this, and we're going to be working hard to raise the funds in the different phases ahead of us," Fabbro said.
After being shuttered for nearly five years, the return to Assumption Church is set for Sept. 8 at 11 a.m.
Roof work was completed on time and under budget, costing $1.6 million. The church now has $1.2 million to kick-start phase two renovations, which include restoring paint and plaster inside the church. The fundraising group will need to raise an additional $2.25 million to undertake that work.
“That is really a very strong indication of the breadth of support we have,” said lead fundraiser, Paul Mullins.
The church’s pastoral minister is excited for congregants to return to regular mass at Windsor’s oldest church in the fall – and remains confident that the community around the university will return to the building.
"I just have faith that God's going to do what's best. And in the end, we've got to go through a lot of struggles to get there,” said pastoral minister, Jean Beneteau. “But if this is what He has in mind, and it appears to be so, we're happy about that."
The church opened in 1845. Assumption Parish is the oldest parish in Canada, west of Montreal.
The entire restoration is expected to cost between $14-million and $20-million.
Congregants are gathered at historic Assumption Church. They will soon learn that the renos to the roof are nearly done and the church will open on Sept. 8 at 11 a.m. @CTVWindsor pic.twitter.com/gqJSnlSHiN— Rich Garton (@RichGartonCTV) August 15, 2019