Morinville Parish asks Town for support in cemetery revitalization

by Tristan Turner
Morinville News Correspondent

Parishioners from Morinville’s St. Jean Baptiste Catholic Church has made an ask to Council at the Sept. 20 Committee of the Whole meeting to revitalize the Town’s only cemetery, operated by the Catholic Church for decades. The site is located off of 100 Street on the north end of Town. The site recently saw the removal of some trees and has not gone undergone renewal in many years, with aging chain link fencing around the property. As a result, the site is in major need of revitalization, according to presenters Gilbert and Lillian Boddez, who made the ask on behalf of Morinvile’s oldest congregation.

The proposal by the Church was for a $66,500 project, including new fencing, landscaping, gates, benches, and lighting, with a $9,000 ‘contingency’ line item included. The Church is not looking for the Town to cover the entire bill, but they are looking to split the bill evenly between the Church’s own fundraising, Sturgeon County, and the Town of Morinville.

Beyond this “once in a life-time ask,” as Gilbert Boddez put it, the Church is also looking for the Town to offer a new annual budget item to support maintenance costs on the site, including landscaping, though they were not forthcoming with an amount.

There was some discussion from the council about the ability for non-Catholics to be buried at the site, with Councillor’s Ladouceur and Boutestein unaware that other denominations were allowed to be buried there. The Boddez’s quickly explained that the cemetery is available to the whole community, with a section for Catholics and non-Catholics. The number of non-Catholic laid to rest there is approaching nearly a quarter of the inhabitants, according to the presenters.

Councillor Boutestein was skeptical and quick to comment that “It’s always awkward joining politics and religion,” adding that she felt agreeing to give public money to this project may mean having to look at sponsoring similar projects from every other faith community in Town if they asked.

Councillor Turner, on the other hand, raised the point that operating a public, municipally owned cemetery could be quite expensive. He noted that the cemetery is a great service offered by the church for the community. He argued that it saves taxpayers pocketbooks long term, and can be used by anybody asking for burial there.

Going on a similar note, Councillor Dafoe commented that potentially money generated from the new photo radar policy amendment that he passed could go towards projects like this in the future, particularly for lighting.

As this was just a Committee of the Whole meeting, Council could not make any binding decisions, but voted unanimously to discuss the matter at the next meeting of Council.

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  1. I vote a big NO to this. As it was mentioned in the article, “It’s always awkward joining politics and religion”. Religion has ZERO place in asking the town for money. To ask for a yearly maintenence fee on top of all that is even more asinine.

    The church is a business, plain and simple. If they can’t operate their business properly to afford revitalization and maintenance, then they need to look at the individual running the church.

    Council better be VERY wary of what they may get themselves into here. With public school enrollment booming, we are becoming a town of people who don’t believe in fairy tales.

    • Derek,
      It is the town that has depended on the church for these burial services – and we have been open hearted for everyone. The history of the town, as that of the country, is splendidly replete with goodwill going back to times when people needed and respected each other. Leaders on the council, in their giftedness, are wise and open minded enough to look at our local history with goodwill and honesty.

      I am the individual in the chief stewardship position the parish – according to the grace of God. If you would like to look at the individual you speak of, my office is open for anyone but know this: we are not simply a business. You have not spoken correctly. Please ask your religious leader to explain it to you. This issue is not that complicated – there are practical costs that can be looked at with simple fairness and justice.

      Neither do we believe in fairy tales. Superstitions and fairy tales thrive where faith lacks, as does hardness of heart.

      We believe that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God. Every human being is to be treated with respect – even when they die. Our lives are a journey towards a fulfilment of love and life that will be timeless and eternal. Christ has proven and this for us – to say the least. The bodies of our loved ones are treated with respect, with love and prayer.

      Even if you do not share in these beliefs, please be aware of them.

      If the town does not choose to share the costs, we will continue to be open hearted to all. Money is a passing thing but love, communion, and respect are not.

      Fr. Martin Jubinville
      Roman Catholic Priest

  2. I am not catholic. We have lived in Morinville 35 yrs. I will probably not be buried there. However, I do have family that we did bury in the Morinville cemetery. It brings some people comfort , including myself to be able to visit. This is something that Morinville has that we do NOT have to drive to St. Albert for!!

    I do agree that religion and politics should not be joined, however if the Catholic Church did not allow non catholics to be buried there, what would the people of Morinville do?? I am sure there would be comments on Rant and Rave that a town of this size does not have a place to honor their dead!

    I agree that the Town could provide a grant for the lighting (safety issue) from the photo radar monies . Anything safety related should fall under this category I believe.

    I also feel the County should be looking to contribute in some manner. Their people also do utilize this service.

    I make a good donation when I attend the yearly non denominal service during the Christmas season, partly because I enjoy the service but also because they keep up the graveyard. Some town or county graveyards charge an upkeep fee annually. This church does not. I’m not sure what the solution is but I personally would not be upset if the church sent out a letter asking for a one time donation for this particular cause, and I can only hope that there are others that utilize this service that would feel the same.

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