An appeal aimed at keeping the Holy Cross Church as a church is in the hands of the Vatican.
Alicia Hagerman, who is among Star of the Sea parishioners involved in an effort to halt the Crescent Beach church’s closure, confirmed Monday that “documents in recourse to the appeal have arrived at the Vatican.”
“We know it was received,” Hagerman said. “Now, it’s in their hands and they can take whatever time they deem is required.”
The appeal launched in December, following a decree issued by Archbishop of Vancouver, Rev. J. Michael Miller that proclaimed Holy Cross Church “will no longer be a sacred place” effective Jan. 16.
The edict cited the 12268 Beecher St. building’s need for significant repairs as among “grave reasons” for the decision; as well, that proceeds from the property’s sale would benefit the parish and Star of the Sea school – added to funds “on deposit for the purpose of constructing a new facility.”
Hagerman said the three signatories to the appeal – who have not been identified – were not officially notified that the decree had been upheld; instead, the news was shared at the Jan. 8 mass at Holy Cross.
According to a note in the parish’s Jan. 15 bulletin signed by Father Glenn Dion, the decision means the appeal automatically moves to the next level “… and will run its due course as prescribed by the Vatican office that oversees such matters.”
“In light of this development, the archbishop has suspended the date for closure of Holy Cross Church until such time that the appeal process is concluded,” Dion writes.
And that, said Hagerman, “is a good thing.”
“They’re not allowed to do anything with it,” she said.
The intention to dispose of the Crescent Beach site – as well as parish property in White Rock’s Five Corners district – was outlined in a fact sheet regarding expansion plans that was initially posted to the Star of the Sea parish website but has been removed.
Those plans – with a conservative cost estimate of $13 million – described a Parish Centre on four acres adjacent to the Good Shepherd Church, which is located at 2250 150 St. in South Surrey.
In a Dec. 4 bulletin on the parish website, Dion assures “that a Catholic Church presence will be maintained within the development” of the White Rock site.
Hagerman and other parishioners who have banded together under the banner Save Star of the Sea favour a plan that includes subsidized or seniors’ housing, along with a new church and parish centre.
She said efforts to continue promoting that plan will continue. The group is next scheduled to meet on Feb. 20.