ON THE PHOTO, LEFT RIGHT: Michel Prévost, Chief Archivist of the University of Ottawa from 1981 to 2017; Tammy Drouin, Secretary of the "Save Our Bell Tower" Committee of L'Orignal; Samy Khalid, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Le Chaînon

Historian Michel Prévost says preservation of heritage churches too big a burden for parishes

Saving a steeple is good. Saving heritage in its entirety would be better. That was part of Michel Prévost’s message when he made a presentation in  Chute-à-Blondeau recently.

 The University of Ottawa’s Chief Archivist and inspirational speaker on the issue of the religious heritage of Franco-Ontarians, Michel Prévost, was at the Chute-à-Blondeau Community Centre on Sunday, May 27,2018.


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Prévost called on political parties during this election period.

“Ontario must follow the example of Quebec and have a religious heritage council. These beautiful monuments that are churches are part of the landscape, our culture, local history. Their conservation is in the public interest. “

Prévost, who was the Chief Archivist of the University of Ottawa from 1981 to 2017 and wrote a book on the history of Caledonia Springs, praised the efforts of  ‘Save Our Bell Tower’ of L’Orignal, who, like the people of Fournier, want to preserve their church.

But in a changing society, he argues that it is no longer fair that the cost of maintaining a building more than a century old rests entirely on the shoulders of parishioners. In Prescott-Russell, if you walk on any Main Street, normally a church will be the flagship building, the visual emblem of the locality. The preservation of these buildings, witnesses of history, is to the advantage of all, Prévost maintains.

In Quebec, the Religious Heritage Council provides funding for restoration work such as that planned for the L’Orignal bell tower.

With respect to the latter, according to Tammy Drouin, secretary of the fundraising committee, the bidding period is over and the file has been sent to the Roman Catholic diocese for approval.

Still on the subject of heritage, Samy Khalid, the editor-in-chief of the historical, genealogical and heritage magazine Le Chaînon, explained how this publication has become a flagship magazine in French-speaking Ontario, for all things related to the history, genealogy and heritage. The Chaînon is published three times a year and has some 10,000 readers of all ages in Ontario, Canada, the United States, Europe and Africa. He invited people to contact him with suggested articles, to share resources of historical interest or to subscribe, on the website http://www.rpfo.ca/en/The-Chainon_26 or on the FaceBook page.

These lectures were given as part of the “Merite laïc” day, during which the six parishes of the “Rising Sun” Pastoral Unit honor volunteers who have contributed to parish life, namely Saint-Jean-Baptiste de L’Orignal; St-Gregoire of Vankleek Hill, St-Bernardin; Saint-Joachim of Chute-à-Blondeau, Saint-Eugene and Sainte-Anne-de-Prescott; under the aegis of Pastor Albert Kaumba.