Church burns to the ground in St. Theresa Point after Easter Sunday mass

A Manitoba First Nation is reeling after their Catholic church caught fire, not long after Easter Sunday mass.

St. Theresa Point Roman Catholic Church caught fire at about 2:50 p.m. Sunday. RCMP called it arson. No one was hurt.

“Our officers attended and were advised that a suspect was observed exiting the church when the fire started,” said Sgt. Paul Manaigre.

“This 32-year-old male was placed under arrest for arson and taken into custody.”

St. Theresa Point Roman Catholic Church burns in the Manitoba First Nation Sunday. Lyle Wood/Submitted

Chief Marie Wood said parishioners wept while the structure burned.

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“People from the community, many crying went to watch the church burn,” she told Global News Sunday.

“Nothing could be done except for fire crews to secure the area and control the burn.”

The First Nation is strongly Roman Catholic, said Wood, and the church is the only one in the community.

St. Theresa Point First Nation is located 486 km north of Winnipeg.

The local community had been fundraising to start building a new church, as the current one had structural and plumbing issues, said Wood.

Read more: Fire classed as held as some Manitoba evacuees return home

“However, loving hands and hard work has made it possible to keep its doors open for our devout parishioners.

“It is a huge loss; our priest Father Victor Ferdinand bravely stood by, supported by community members. The church bells rang this morning for the last time, as it is Easter Sunday, a great celebration for our community.

“We will work together and recover this huge loss and always have faith that things happen for a reason, please remember the wonderful memories the building holds forever in our hearts.”

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