Hear & Now: The Status of St. Thomas More

April 26, 2024
April 26, 2024

After presiding Mass on Sunday April 21st, Fr. Mike hosted our latest edition of Hear & Now events to update parishioners and the community of St. Willibrord on the status of St. Thomas More Parish.

At the start of 2022 the Parishioners and Wardens of St. Thomas More met several times under the guidance of Fr. Robert and all agreed that the English Catholic community within Verdun is best served by a single Parish. With the passing of Fr. Robert in March, newly appointed Administrative Pastor Fr. Ray continued the review process with the Wardens who ultimately made a unanimous recommendation to close the Parish. This recommendation, not arrived at lightly and made with much sadness, reflected the financial shortfall year over year and long-term looking forward, the more than $300,000 of expected building repairs in the near term, as well as the continuous decline of active Parishioners and Ministry activities.

The recommendation of the St. Thomas More Wardens was rejected by the Parishioners at a vote held last fall. At that time the Wardens humbly provided notice that they could not continue beyond the current year given the mandate to continue the Parish. Ultimately it was a vote of non-confidence for the Wardens and they were ready to step aside for new leaders of the Fabrique. Before Christmas the Parishioners met to elect new Wardens and unfortunately no nominations were made. A vote was taken based on the original recommendation to close the Parish and it was passed.

In February of this year the recommendation to close was accepted by the Presbyteral Council which supported the recommendation to the Archbishop. The Archdiocese is now in the process of dissolution of the Fabrique as a legal entity within the Quebec Civil Code. It is important to understand that there are several closure processes that will occur at different points in time and dependant on various parties. In addition to the legal closure of the entity organization, the Archdiocese will need to close the Parish, as well as the Wardens to determine when to cease liturgical activities operating in the buildings, and finally the closure of the buildings. It is expected that St. Willibrord Parish will be responsible for taking on all of the assets and liabilities of St. Thomas More on or before October 1st of this year.

It has been difficult for the Parishioners and leadership of St. Willibrord to be observing the process but the opportunity for us to become active supporters of our brothers and sisters at St. Thomas More is upon us! During the discussion it was identified that the June 22nd Feast Day of St. Thomas More would be an excellent opportunity for our two Parishes to come together and celebrate our shared history as well as the renewal of the original Parish established in 1913. Many of the St. Thomas More Parishioners have already joined various Ministries at St. Willibrord and we invite all of our Parishioners to invite, welcome and accompany our fellow Verdunite Catholics from St. Thomas More to our Parish family.

Thank you to all of the Parishioners of St. Willibrord who attended and are standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters at St. Thomas More. A special note of thanks to the Wardens of St. Thomas for all of their hard and diligent work through this process, especially to Deborah, Derek and Paul for attending and making themselves available to participate in our Hear & Now event.