In Ottawa, the green and peaceful capital of Canada, it has been more than three years since the doors of the old St Margaret Mary Church closed and its bells stopped tolling. The lack of money to completely restore it, from floor to ceiling, having definitively sealed its fate.
TThree long years have passed since that sad day in 2019 which sounded the death knell for its slim hopes of survival, leaving its parishioners orphaned and overwhelmed. Three long years passed, without any more spiritual breath passing through the disused building, which stood proudly in the landscape for more than a century.
Until the blessed moment when a rehabilitation project ended up germinating, slowly but surely making its way into minds, all minds: in fact, in place of the old St Margaret Mary church, a mosque will soon see the day, with the consent and blessing of all.
“ It is with deep respect that the Supreme Islamic Council of Canada, which owns 32 mosques across the country, will take possession of the premises, because it was a church for a century and our fellow Catholics are emotionally and spiritually linked to it, which is perfectly understandable, but also with the desire to build interreligious bridges “, declared Imam Syed Soharwardy on the microphone of CBC Radio.
“ I am 100% sure that when the sale is completed, this will represent a beautiful model of living together for all of Canadian society and perhaps for the world », he added, specifying that a multi-faith cultural center will be set up on a large part of the land, in order to accommodate the elderly, music groups as well as a Montessori primary school.
Far from crying heresy or mounting the fiery steeds of a new Islamophobic crusade, preferring to make common cause under the same banner, that of harmonious coexistence, most Catholics in Ottawa, including the faithful flock of the St Margaret Mary Church, are the first to rejoice in the salutary transformation of what remains above all the House of God.
Like the very pious Missy Fraser, this is what is essential in their eyes, even if their former haven of peace, in which they will always be welcome, will soon resonate with other vibrant invocations.
“ It’s wonderful to me that it continues to be a place of worship as it has been for the last century, but also that it continues to be a place of service to others “, she confided with emotion. Like all of her co-religionists, she is happy at the idea that relations between Muslims and Christians are cementing around the future beautiful mosque and the base of common humanist values that its construction will help to take root.