Pastoral Letter re St. Anne’s, Gladstone

Monday, 10 June, 2024


My dear People,

By now you will all have heard the devastating news of the loss of the parish church of St Anne’s, Gladstone to fire yesterday morning. St Anne’s Rector’s Warden (our dear friend, Frank Cormier, who has done so much to help us in preserving our own built heritage here) ‘phoned me between our masses to tell me of the fire and to ask our prayers.

Sarah and I know first hand what such a loss is like, as we were both parishioners of St George’s, Halifax (The Round Church) when the Parish Church burned thirty years ago last Sunday. I remember so well standing on Brunswick Street late that spring evening watching water being poured into the flaming dome, only to reappear through the front doors, from which it cascaded down the tall front steps and down towards the Harbour.

I remember especially Father Thorne’s heroic pastoral care of us all, not only in the immediate aftermath of the fire, but through the months and years as we organised and fundraised to rebuild. Since yesterday, I’ve been thinking so much of Father Beyers and of the strength he will need in the coming days as he strives to preach the Gospel of Hope in the face of the Parish’s hopelessness.

I would like us, as a parish, to find ways of supporting St Anne’s in the coming days. One immediate way that we could help is by purchasing a Chalice and Paten, as well as communion linens, since the parish silver and linens were destroyed in the blaze. This seems especially appropriate to S. Bart’s, for many reasons. As an Anglo-Catholic parish ourselves, we know so clearly the centrality of the Holy Mass to parish life — how we live, day by day, upon the treasures of grace conferred to us in the Sacrament of Love. Just recently we have been reviving our parish ward of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament — an organisation which has historically provided sacred vessels for use at God’s Altar.

I would ask that anyone who wishes to support these efforts direct donations to ‘St Anne’s Support’. We will have a second collection on Sunday for this purpose, but you may also donate by E-transfer.

Please keep Father Beyers, Mother Hannah, and the People of St Anne’s in your prayers in the coming days, and please offer the Holy Mass for them when you hear Mass or make your communion. I commend to you the beautiful letter that Bishop Asbil addressed to the Diocese this morning.

May our love for the Clergy and People of St Anne’s Parish be a beautiful witness to the people of our City, and may God Almighty bless us, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, now and ever.

Under the Mercy,

Father Walter Hannam

Pastoral Letter re St. Anne’s, Gladstone