Fellowship and food from cookbooks celebrate cathedral facelift support

Jodi Schellenberg
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Like most 100 year olds, the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Prince Albert wasn’t looking as pretty as it was a century ago.

After renovating and updating the church, the congregation decided to invite everyone to the church on Sunday to see the new look firsthand.

“We are just welcoming everybody back to the cathedral,” cookbook committee member Denise Dagenais said. “It was closed since last November until Holy Thursday for renovations. That was when the renovations were complete.

“Today we thought it would be a good day to bring everybody back in to see what the renovations were all about and what we accomplished.”

On Sunday, the community was invited to have a tour of the cathedral and then to join the parishioners in the basement for refreshments straight out of the cookbooks they were selling to raise funds for the renovations.

“What we did was we asked people that donated recipes or that put recipes in the book to come out today and share with everybody,” Dagenais said. “They could go for a tour and then come down and have a sense of fellowship and gathering.”

There were many renovations that had to be completed, including a new furnace, stained glass window covers, replacing carpets and stairs, repairing the roof, painting and other minor repairs.

Since the repairs were “quite extensive” the congregation started coming up with idea to raise money, including selling cookbooks.

“We came up with over 15,000 recipes which equals to a two-volume set that we are selling two for $35,” Dagenais said. “All the recipes came from parishioners and the whole diocese, not just Prince Albert, but all the outlying areas also gave their time and recipes.”

The committee had seen the success of cookbooks in the past, when they created one to raise money for youth day in Australia.

“We thought it was one way we could get together -- it is a real sense of community when you get everyone together and donate their time and energy and recipes,” she said. “Everybody gets to benefit from it.”

The congregation also put on a number of other fundraisers to try to reach their $1 million goal -- they are now about $300,000 short of that goal.

“It was worth it now that you see the cathedral,” Dagenais said. “It is beautiful inside. It is unbelievable.

“For so long, all we saw was the paint coming down and where the water was coming in and now you don’t see that anymore. It is beautiful and back to its original state.”

Everyone who came out to the event was pleased to see the 100-year-old cathedral returned to its former glory.

“I was very happy to come and see and hear everything,” Louise Fox said. “It is very beautiful and touching.”

Many of those who stopped by the event on Sunday were not members of the cathedral’s congregation.

Marina Lyons heard about the idea of an event were people could tour the church and try out recipes from the cookbook in the winter and thought it was a fantastic idea.

Although it is not the church she attends, Lyons was happy to see the updates to the cathedral.

“It was exactly what I was hoping it would be,” she said. “We have been here to different functions … I had forgotten it was pink and blue upstairs because now it is very peaceful and beautiful. The colours are very lovely.

“I think they did just a marvelous job and they kept it -- nothing has gone missing,” Lyons added. “They have changed things around a little bit, but the colours are really what makes it so beautiful.”

They still have close to 500 of the cookbooks left from this printing. Anyone interesting in buying the two cookbook set can contact the cathedral office at 306-763-2319.

For past articles about Sacred Heart renovations click here and here.

Organizations: Prince Albert

Geographic location: Australia

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