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Pointe-Saint-Charles church calls on community for donations

Click to play video: 'Crowd-funding campaign launched to save crumbling church'
Crowd-funding campaign launched to save crumbling church
WATCH ABOVE: For more than a century, Saint Gabriel's Parish has been a pillar of the community in Pointe-Saint-Charles. But now, the church is at risk of closing due to major structural issues with the building. As Felicia Parrillo reports, a crowd-funding campaign was launched to help save the historic site – Jul 24, 2016

MONTREAL – Sister Diana Lieffers has been a part of Saint Gabriel’s Parish for the last 41 years and for just as long, the church has been a part of her.

“If it didn’t mean anything to me, I don’t think I would be here that long,” she said. “It’s the people that bring the spirit.  It’s a spirit of kindness, a spirit of looking out for the other person and anytime somebody needs something, they know where to come.”

Sister Diana Lieffers is confident the community will come together to help save the church. Alex Chabot/Global News

But now, it’s the church that is asking for help.

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Built in 1890, Saint Gabriel’s Parish was the first church to open its doors in Pointe-Saint-Charles and so naturally, its walls have been through a lot.

“Probably because of a fire in 1956, the church has become compromised,” said church warden, Michael Meagher. “And now, the stones are starting to shift and so if the tower or stones start to fall, people could be imperiled.”

After receiving multiple estimates, the church believes repairs could cost up to $400,000 – but they don’t have the funds to fix it.

“We don’t have the money, we’re poor,” said Lieffers. ” We always were a poor parish – we barely get by paying our ordinary monthly, weekly bills and so, to have a big thing like this come upon our shoulders is just a bit much.”

So the church has turned to the community for donations, in hopes they’ll open up their hearts and help.

“We’re trying to fundraise,” said Meagher. “We’ve gone on go fund me, we’re selling bricks, we even have a bottle drives and we’ve also approached organizations by email and friends of the church.”

The parish said they’re not confident the tower can make it through another cold season and so they’re hoping to raise the money and get it fixed as soon as possible.

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“If we don’t get this fixed soon, the city could come in here and close us down, cause it’s very dangerous,” said Lieffers. “If you saw the stones and see them up close, it’s even worse.”

So far, the church has only raised a few thousand dollars, but Lieffers, along with the church, are staying positive.

They believe the community will come through.

“I’ve never had a project in this community – it could be small, or whatever, that we didn’t reach our goal,” explained Lieffers. “And I know we’re going to do it. I just have a lot of faith in God that he’s gonna make these people open up and be generous to the parish.”

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