(WINDSOR, ON) – It is a busy time for the region’s Roman Catholics. It started on Sunday with one of the oldest Catholic churches in the country reopening its doors to officially celebrate its 250th anniversary.
The Lady of Assumption Catholic Parish on Huron Church Road started the festivities with a standing room only, outside mass on the historic church’s front lawn. The number of worshipers, about 700, surprised Pastor Maurice Restivo.
His first thought was the 500 chairs set out under a big tent would be too many.
After the mass, the church’s front doors were opened to welcome the attendees. Except for rare occasions, they have not opened since November 2014, when the building was shuttered after efforts failed to raise the considerable funds needed to make building repairs.
Restivo told The Square that it is impossible to say when or if the church will re-open on a permanent basis. A considerable degree of fundraising is still needed. Meanwhile, the congregation is currently housed at the former Holy Name of Mary Church on McEwan Avenue.
Assumption will open for one last time today for an all-day open house and then return to dormancy.
This Friday, the nation’s newest Roman Catholic church, the Good Shepherd, at 462 Advance Boulevard in Tecumseh, will hold its first mass, dedicating the church, at 7:00pm. The parish plans to fill its worship space with numerous programs for children, families, and adults.
A number of land transfers preceded the construction of the new church, which will replace St Gregory, where parishioners are currently lodged.
The St Gregory property was part of a land swap with the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board. Once Good Shepherd is operational, St Gregory will be demolished and the land repurposed as a playground for St Andre French Immersion Catholic Elementary School.