News & Events
Jun 26, 2015
Decree Regarding Closing and Sale of Our Lady Queen of the World Church and Property
Having received the recommendation of the Pastor and members of the Diocesan Finance Committee, and having consulted with the Priests Consultors of the Diocese of Victoria, and in accordance with canon 1222, §2; I, Gary M. Gordon, Bishop of the Diocese of Victoria, do hereby decree that Our Lady Queen of the World church located in Shawnigan Lake, BC (hereinafter referred to as OLQW church) be canonically closed and no longer used for divine worship effective July 30, 2015. The background and reasons for this action are:
- Our Lady Queen of the World church was commissioned by Most Reverend Bishop James M. Hill on Sunday June 24th, 1956 at 3:00 pm as a house of prayer for the Lord. At first it was a public school. Transportation was difficult at the time of its opening and having this church in the Shawnigan Lake area was a blessing.
- St. Francis Xavier / Our Lady Queen of the World is one parish with two churches, attended by approximately 110 families in the south Cowichan area from the communities of Cobble Hill, Mill Bay, and Shawnigan Lake. Populations in this area have grown, and transportation is less onerous. Considering this is a single parish, one larger and new church building can be constructed to service a greater and growing population of the area.
- At present, OLQW church is in need of significant repairs, which are to be anticipated in a building of this type and age. St. Francis Xavier church (SFX) is also a historic building that has been in continuous use and recently celebrated its 125th anniversary. This church has recently benefitted from repairs and restorations. To undertake the required repairs for OLQW church, in addition to maintaining SFX church, would be a heavy financial burden on the parish.
- Seeking to expand the mission of the Church in this area, the proceeds from the sale of the property of Our Lady Queen of the World would be utilized for the benefit of a new church building located in Mill Bay – an area that is central to the districts that form the South Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. These funds would be added to funds the parish currently has on deposit for the purpose of a new building.
- Pursuant to the due diligence followed by the Parish Pastoral Council over the past three years at various meetings, and with input from the Parish Building Committee, Parish Finance Committee and from parishioners at parish-wide meetings, the 2013 parish survey results indicate that the overwhelming majority of parishioners are supportive of a new church in Mill Bay at the current site of St. Francis Xavier Church.
I give leave to those within the Diocesan Curia charged with the administration of temporal matters to see to the continued process of the sale of Our Lady Queen of the World church and the property on which it stands, to completion, taking care to observe faithfully the pertinent civil laws in this regard and the provisions of the Code of Canon Law concerning the alienation of temporal goods.
I direct that this Decree be published in Our Lady Queen of the World Church and St.Francis Xavier Church and by a suitable means throughout the Diocese of Victoria, with the understanding that any who wish to make recourse against it, in accordance with canon 1734, §1-2, must do so in writing within ten canonical days from the time this Decree was lawfully notified. Given at Victoria, in the province of British Columbia this twenty sixth day of June in the year two thousand and fifteen.
Dated: June 26, 2015
Most Reverend Gary Gordon
Bishop of Victoria