- (Photo: Assumption Parish)
A congregation in Canada looking to launch a major restoration project of its church building has received what it has dubbed "a huge boost" to its effort.
Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Parish of Windsor, Ontario, will soon receive a donation of approximately $3.5 million from a local businessman and philanthropist.
News of the large donation was announced Monday at a "special luncheon" featuring several community and parish leaders, reads an entry on Our Lady of Assumption's website.
"…exciting news was shared regarding the additional commitment of a $3.5 million dollar challenge pledge from Al Quesnel, which will be set aside and used to match new donations," reads the entry.
"It is Mr. Quesnel's ardent desire that this new pledge will serve as a catalyst for other donors to come forward with donations to support the preservation of this architectural masterpiece."
Father William Riegel, pastor at Assumption, told a Canadian media outlet that combined with other donations the 170-year-old church should be able to begin necessary restoration work.
"Absolutely this is a catalyst…We're looking forward to the other Windsor members of the community to come forward to save this very, very historical, living place called Assumption parish and church," said Riegel to CBC News.
Tracing its roots to French Catholic settlers in the region during the early eighteenth century, Assumption Parish is served by a priestly community known as the Basilian Fathers.
"Today Assumption Parish is indeed a Catholic community, with parishioners from around the world. Many Basilian priests have come and gone, and have left their legacy at this parish," reads the "History" entry on their website.
"I donated a million and a quarter to the church, because I knew if I didn't, the church was going to close, and it's actually the oldest church in Canada, excluding one in Montreal," said Quesnel to CBC.
According to the Assumption Catholic Parish's website, the congregation expects for the repair and restoration work to begin as early as spring of next year.