Marian Centre, a Regina soup kitchen run by the Madonna House Apostolate of Combermere, Ont., has been temporarily closed to allow for major structural repairs. Core samples of the foundation showed major deterioration, and the restructuring will give the building a new foundation. The goal is to welcome back the people they serve around the middle of November. (Photo by Frank Flegel)
REGINA — The people of Madonna House Apostolate who operate the Marian Centre soup kitchen were concerned that the people who depend on them for weekend sandwiches would have nowhere to go when the centre closed this summer to allow for major structural repairs to the building.
Soul’s Harbour and Carmichael Outreach provide hot meals during the week, so Marian Centre clientele have an alternative place to go for a hot meal, according to Hugo Istaza, director of the Marian Centre. But Saturday sandwiches won’t be available again until the centre reopens, which is scheduled to take place around the middle of November.
Isaza said Westminster United Church and St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral have been contacted to help out. “Our volunteers now make the sandwiches at Westminster Church and they are taken to St. Paul’s and Carmichael Outreach where they are available to the people who depend on them.”
St. Paul’s Cathedral also has a program of its own every second Saturday.
Souls Harbour is across the street from the Marian Centre; Carmichael Outreach and St. Paul’s Cathedral are within a few blocks of the Marian Centre in the city’s core area. Westminster United, however, is across the street from Holy Rosary Cathedral on the west side of the city.
Istaza said Marian Centre staff were sent to other Madonna House Apostolate centres in Canada, including the mother house in Combermere, Ont. He returned to his home in Colombia at the end of August. He and the rest of the staff will come back to Regina in early November, depending on the pace of renovations. He expects it will take about two weeks to get the centre up and running again, so the goal is to welcome back the people they serve about the middle of the month.
The restructuring requires that the building be empty. Core samples of the foundation showed major deterioration. The restructuring will give the building a new foundation and interior renovations.
The centre was built in 1913 and once housed the German language newspaper Der Courier. The Regina archdiocese purchased the building in 1966. Archdiocesan officer Barry Wood confirmed the building is owned by the archdiocese and is providing the up-front financing for the renovations. Wood and Istaza both estimated cost will be in the neighbourhood of $400,000, but that is expected to rise as there is asbestos in the building and the cost of removing that is unknown.
While the archdiocese is putting up the money for the restructuring, Madonna House will repay the archdiocese. Istaza said he is pleased with the success of the fundraising campaign.
“Cheques and money are coming in quite well,” he said, but he couldn’t give an estimate of the amount collected so far. Wood estimated a little less than half has been collected.