Background

Update 2013: Assumption Church was saved in 2007.  In 2013, we learned that construction of the nearby school's sports field would begin to the West of the school.

It has been known for some time that the Lakeland Catholic School District plans to purchase a strip of land between the school and the church for space to build a new gymnasium, classrooms and other facilities.  At a public meeting on Oct. 26, 2006, parishioners learned for the first time that the School Board also plans to purchase Assumption Church, the rectory and all of the land now belonging to the church.  It was not explained how the church would be used.

This page presents the case for saving Our Lady of Assumption Parish.  First, we summarize the information made public in the parish bulletin and during the public meeting.  Then, we refute the arguments for closing the parish and transferring the church building and land to the school. 

A Surprise Announcement

In the Assumption/St. Dominic Parish bulletin, the following announcement was made:

  • "On Thursday Oct. 26 a General Assembly meeting was held to discuss the future of Assumption Church.  The Lakeland Catholic School District 150 has sent a letter of intent to Bishop Luc Bouchard to purchase the church and the land behind the church.  Negotiations will begin very shortly between the Bishop and the School District.  This is not a done deal.  We have no idea what the outcome will be or when a decision will be made.  Assumption school needs to be expanded to help with the growing population in the school."

The School District could expand the school without purchasing Assumption Church.  A portion of the church land could be sold so that the school has room to expand.  The church building could continue to serve its religious function without being sold to the School District.  This is explained in more detail in the Maps section.

The bulletin indicated that there are three factors regarding Assumption Parish.  In the public meeting, it was suggested that the Bishop may close a church if these three criteria are not met by the parish.  Let us examine these three issues in more detail.

1. Financial Issues

The Assumption/St. Dominic Parish bulletin stated the following:

  • "Most months there are more expenses than income."

Parishioners have been kept in the dark regarding parish finances, as there have been no published annual financial statements for Assumption Parish for the past few years.  The Rectory beside Assumption Church is currently rented by the School District as office space for $400 per month.  This rate is only half of the rents charged for commercial office space in Cold Lake.   Finally, if a portion of Assumption Church land is subdivided and sold to the School District at market value, proceeds from the sale could be used for ongoing parish expenses and maintenance. 

2. Ministries and Volunteers

The Assumption/St. Dominic Parish bulletin stated the following:

  • "We have [fewer] parishioners who sign up for ministries."

One interpretation of this comment is that Assumption Parish has less volunteers for ministries than St. Dominic Parish.  Since 1980, Assumption Parish and St. Dominic Parish have shared a priest.  One pastor in the 1980s and the current pastor have encouraged the two communities to consider themselves as one parish.  Due to the ever-changing Sunday Mass schedules, parishioners from both parishes have volunteered for ministries at both churches. 

Assumption Church has benefited from a large pool of volunteers to serve in the ministries and to keep the church and churchyard clean and well-maintained.  The church has not been neglected due to parishioner apathy. 

3. Attendance

The Assumption/St. Dominic Parish bulletin stated the following:

  • "We have more families moving out of town and very little new families moving in."

This comment does not make sense at all because the City of Cold Lake has benefited from high growth rates during recent years.  The oil boom has attracted many new families to the area.  Evidence for this growth can be seen in the hundreds of new houses built in Cold Lake during the past 4 years alone.  New residential subdivisions have been created in Cold Lake South as well as in Cold Lake North.  So many new families are moving in to the area served by Assumption Parish that a new Catholic Elementary School is currently being built only 7 blocks from Assumption Church.  Since the growth of the city has shown no signs of slowing down, the Diocese should not close Assumption Parish so that there is sufficient capacity for new parishioners in the future.