An appeal of a decree to close Holy Cross Church in Crescent Beach has been rejected.
But while the decision out of the Vatican last month caused “shock and extreme disappointment throughout the (Star of the Sea) parish,” those behind efforts to keep the heritage site intact and operational say the fight is not over yet.
“We were surprised and not surprised,” said Jim Garnett, a longtime parishioner. “There’s always different levels of authority. Now, we’re appealing this.”
Garnett is involved in Save Star of the Sea, a group that formed last summer in a bid to save that church – located in White Rock’s Five Corners district – from development plans. They added preserving Holy Cross Church to their efforts when news of its planned closure came to light.
The first appeal, directed to the Archbishop of Vancouver, launched in December; the second was forwarded to the Vatican the following month. Word that it had been rejected arrived April 18.
Garnett said this latest appeal, to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura – described as the highest level of appeal within the Catholic Church, next to the Pope – is underway.
It’s expected to cost upwards of $25,000, but Garnett said no fundraising is planned.
“Quite a number of parishioners have stepped forward with donations to help out with the cost of this,” he said. “That speaks to the seriousness of parishioners.”
The appellants were given 60 days to submit the appeal; Garnett said it could be 12 to 18 months before it is heard.
“In the meantime, at least it’s not being sold,” he said. “They’re still holding weekly services. That’s a good thing.”