Father Gilles Marcil of the "Soleil Levant" Catholic parish is seen here at a consultation meeting last year in Vankleek Hill.

Local parishes set on “modernization”

Six local Catholic parishes are undergoing a “progressive modernization,” after a consultation process aimed at addressing shrinking attendance at masses.

The Catholic, francophone parishes of Soleil Levant will have come up with three “themes” that will guide changes: more dynamic masses, more youth involvement, and modernized communications. According to a statement published on June 14, the parish will lean on the local francophone Catholic school board, CSDCEO, for assistance.

The churches involved in the process are Saint-Jean-Baptiste in L’Orignal, Saint-Joachim in Chute-à-Blondeau, Saint-Grégoire de Nazianze in Vankleek Hill, Saint-Bernardin, Sainte-Anne-de-Prescott and Saint-Eugène. Each will hold 12 “special celebrations” per year. The statement names a recent walk for autism or even St-Isidore’s tractor-blessing mass as examples of special celebrations.

In addition, each parish will create a Facebook page, and use it to publish information about upcoming events as well as to post relevant videos, songs, and articles.

The school board, meanwhile, will share its resources with the parishes. The statements says elementary schools in L’Orignal, Vankleek Hill, and Saint-Eugene are already involved in the process and meetings have been held with representatives of L’École secondaire catholique régionale de Hawkesbury.

The consultation process was led by David Sherwood of Brunet Sherwood Consultants.