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Parishioner fundraisers help pay for upgrades, renovations

Claire Pilon - Canada

Parishioners of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Chelmsford gathered on the weekend to celebrate the dedication of the end of renovations and restoration to the interior of their church.

The Celebration of the Eucharist was presided over by the Bishop of the Diocese of Sault Ste Marie, Monsignor Jean-Louis Plouffe.

The church was built in 1910 and serves about 1,500 families. It was built in the style of that era and since 1970, it has undergone some renovations and has adopted a more modern style.

Monsignor Richard Faucon, the pastor of St. Joseph Parish, said renovations have been ongoing for several years and the latest phase was finished a few days ago.

This phase was overseen by Father Bernard Legault and Monsignor Faucon.

"The approximate cost of the latest phase of the work was $350,000," Faucon said.

Parishioner Pierre Gagnier said many renovations and restoration projects have been tackled.

"We have never undertaken a project without having enough money to cover the cost; therefore, we do not have any debts because of the renovations," Gagnier said.

Volunteers did most of the work, he said.

"It was like a beehive of activities in the church and it was the volunteers that made the difference."

To raise the money, many fundraising activities were organized by parishioners.

"We raised money through the organization of activities such as annual picnics, raffles and garage sales," Gagnier said.

He said the biggest jobs undertaken were the restoration of the Way of the Cross, the crystallography of the windows and the master altar.

"We also painted the walls, took down the benches in order to take off the rug and change the floor and modernized the electricity, heating, insulation and changed the doors," Gagnier said.

After the Celebration of the Eucharist, parishioners gathered for a lunch served in the church hall.