3 groups submit joint bid to buy iconic St. John's Basilica

·1 min read
Three local groups have put forward a joint bid to buy the Basilica of St. John the Baptist and keep it operating as a church. (Bruce Tilley/CBC - image credit)
Three local groups have put forward a joint bid to buy the Basilica of St. John the Baptist and keep it operating as a church. (Bruce Tilley/CBC - image credit)

A trio of groups are joining forces to try to buy the iconic Basilica of St. John the Baptist in St. John's.

The details of a letter outlining the plan for the Basilica Heritage Foundation, St. Bonaventure's College and the St. Bon's Forum Corporation to put forward a joint bid on the historic building has been shared with CBC News.

It would see the groups preserve the building as a cathedral and a place of worship.

The basilica and other church properties in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John's are being sold to help pay millions to the victims of sexual abuse by Christian Brothers at the former Mount Cashel orphanage.

According to the letter, the joint bid is for the purchase of the basilica, and a block of attached properties that include St. Bonaventure's College, which is a private school, and a hockey rink on the same property.

If the bid is successful, the letter says the Basilica Heritage Foundation would maintain the cathedral as a faith, heritage and cultural centre, as as a central St. John's church.

St. Bonaventure's College would continue to operate as a private school, and the institution would keep the hockey rink.

In an email to CBC News, Archbishop Peter Hundt said the proposal has the potential for the basilica to become the home of the amalgamated Catholic community of central St. John's.

But Hundt said the church won't comment further until the bidding process is complete.

Prospective buyers have until June 2 to submit bids.

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