Notre Dame des Canadiens Church is Sold
Building to become part of City Square Property
October 7, 2010, WORCESTER, MA – The Office of the Chancellor announced today that Notre Dame des Canadiens Church has been sold to CitySquare II Development Co. LLC for $875,000. The official closing was on Monday, October 4, 2010.
All of the net proceeds from the sale go to Holy Family Parish of Worcester. The Diocese has consistently followed the canonical principle that money from property sales remains with the parish with which the former parish had been merged. No portion of the net proceeds are retained by the Diocese of Worcester.
Monsignor Thomas Sullivan, chancellor for the Diocese of Worcester, contracted the sale with representatives of The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc., the investors in City Square II. Attorney James F. Cosgrove represented the Diocese.
In commenting on the process, Msgr. Sullivan said, “I have enjoyed many discussions with the teams at The Hanover and CitySquare II. Their vision of transforming so much of Worcester's downtown is impressive. I am thrilled that the Diocese of Worcester is collaborating in the exciting CitySquare project through our conveyance of Notre Dame to the project.”
The Catholic Church has canonical norms regulating the alienation (sale) of churches and other parochial properties. Particular norms, or local laws, are established by virtue of the population size of a diocese, which regulate the approval process for transactions over a certain dollar amount. Since the transaction was significant, votes had to be taken on the transaction by the Diocesan Board of Consultors and the Diocesan Finance Committee, after the initial agreements were negotiated between CitySquare II Development Company and the Diocese of Worcester. Both diocesan groups unanimously supported the sale.
As with other churches which have been sold to non-Catholic groups, all consecrated items, including the altar, statuary, baptismal font, and tabernacle, have been removed. Many of these are now being used in other churches or in the chapel of Notre Dame Cemetery in Worcester. Some items are being kept in storage until an appropriate home is found in another Church.
The agreement between the two parties also included the removal of all of the stained glass windows which included figures of saints or religious figures. None of these items can be sold to individuals. As with consecrated items, they must be transferred to and used by Catholic churches. Stained glass windows which could remain in the building included patterned stained glass which do not have religious figures.
Most Reverend Robert J. McManus, Bishop of Worcester, commented, “Given the limited number of congregations that are seeking the purchase of another place of worship in this challenging economy, I am glad that we have been able to conclude our negotiations and can transfer Notre Dame des Canadiens Church to the CitySquare development project. The historic architecture of the church lends itself to the beauty we anticipate seeing in the overall CitySquare project. This great venture in urban renewal will blend the old with the new. It is my hope that generations to come will continue to relish the beauty of Notre Dame's exterior while enjoying an interior which will be converted to a new purpose serving all our citizens.”
Mr. Fred Eppinger, CEO of The Hanover, added, “We are very pleased with the purchase and we appreciate the opportunity the Diocese of Worcester extended to us. This was a very logical purchase, given the location of the church. Our goal is to work with our developer to explore the many possible uses of the building and to incorporate the property into the development in a way that maximizes the value of the development as a whole and the property itself. This will be a thoughtful process that will be managed over time, in the context of the overall project.”
# # #