REGINA — The last mass for Canadian Martyrs Church in North Central Regina took place July 27, 2014, and the doors were locked, but it remained a church because it was not officially de-consecrated until Feb. 19.
Archbishop Daniel Bohan in his homily explained that a church is not like any other building: “It is a sacred place, a holy place, a place where people who believed in God have experienced the presence of God. Therefore, when the time comes to close a church, it needs to be done properly and respectfully, with thanksgiving to God for what has been accomplished here.”
Canadian Martyrs was once part of a tri-parish unit, with St. Charles and Good Samaritan being the other two. St. Charles was closed in 2013 and sold in 2014. Many meetings and much discussion took place following the closure of St. Charles to determine whether Canadian Martyrs or Good Samaritan would close, with the other becoming the home church. When no agreement could be reached, Bohan announced both churches would be closed and a new one created. Canadian Martyrs closed its doors July 31, 2014 and Good Samaritan became Our Lady of Peace, Aug. 1, 2014, a new parish in the same building.
The de-consecration ceremony was celebrated by Bohan with chancellor Rev. James Owolagba, vicar-general Rev. Lorne Crozon, Rev. Mau Nguyen, and Rev. Peter Nguyen, who served as parish priest at Canadian Martyrs.
“We have been made holy in order to carry out a mission given us by Jesus Christ,” said the archbishop in his homily. That mission, he said, quoting the Gospel of Mark, is to go out and proclaim the good news to the whole of creation. “The church building is where the living church comes to be made able to go out into all the world.”
Canadian Martyrs was able to do that when it was built, said Bohan, but over the years for many reasons it could no longer sustain those activities. The mission of the church, however, remains the same.
“When a community is no longer able to help each other to go out to the world around it, then it must seek another community that can provide them with that spiritual strength.”
Parish member Cathy Reed read a brief history of Canadian Martyrs prior to mass and Sister Stephanie Beaulieu of the Myriam Family read a letter from Sister Renée Crepeau offering prayers for the community. The Myriam Family occupied the rectory and made Canadian Martyrs the centre of their ministry for 10 years. They have since moved to another Regina location.