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The safeguarding of the former Saint-Bernard Church in NS

Bouctouche, New Brunswick, 20 April 2023 – Nation Prospère Acadie (Nation Prospère) and the Société Héritage Saint-Bernard are announcing that they have joined their efforts to save the former Saint-Bernard Church in Nova Scotia. They are launching a 32 Days to Save Saint-Bernard flash campaign today, with the ambitious goal of raising $2.5 million by May 23rd.

If successful, the funds will be used to re-roof in metal the highest central sections of this mini cathedral, upgrade its heating system and repair water damages suffered in recent years. Other minor works will be part of this first phase, the objective of which is to save the building in time for the Congrès Mondial Acadien 2024.

The development of an initial interpretation concept is also proposed as part of this first phase of the project, while a reserve of 20% of all funds raised will be created. From the outset, this campaign will aim to establish an initial trust fund to ensure the future conservation of this Acadian architectural treasure.

Nation Prospère confirms that it has accepted the responsibility of becoming the owners of the former St. Bernard Church in Nova Scotia. The purchase offer accepted by the Diocese of Halifax Yarmouth is conditional on financing by May 26, 2023. If they successfully complete this step, they will become its owners on June 28, 2023. The project will then proceed with its next phase, which is to define its future viable usage.

The charitable organization Nation Prospère Acadie was created in 2018 with a mission to play a leading role in the protection of Acadian heritage in Atlantic Canada. In 2022, its Acadian Heritage Advisory Committee designated the St. Bernard and St. Mary churches in St. Mary's Bay as places of national significance to the Acadian people.

The construction of the Saint-Bernard Church was begun in 1910 by Father Édouard LeBlanc, who became the first Acadian bishop in 1912. Built with great effort and sacrifice by the inhabitants of Saint-Bernard Parish, this masterpiece to the glory of God was only completed 32 years later in 1942. It is one of the largest stone buildings in Atlantic Canada.

"This majestic granite stone building has stood proudly in the local landscape for over 80 years and it is incumbent upon all of us, as heirs to this proud heritage, to safeguard it today," said Michel Cyr, Chair of the Nation Prospère Board of Directors. "To succeed with this endeavour is one of the greatest tributes we can pay to the Acadian people of Nova Scotia."

The 32 Days to Save Saint-Bernard flash campaign begins today. Updates will be posted weekly on Nation Prospère’s Facebook page until May 23rd.

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Contacts : Michel J.C. Cyr, président, Nation Prospère Acadie (506) 389-2358 Jean Le Blanc, président, Société Héritage Saint-Bernard (902) 837-5750


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