Parishioners return in time for Easter to Sydney church damaged by flood

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Parishioners return in time for Easter to Sydney church damaged by flood

Parishioners of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys church in Sydney, N.S., are elated their once flood-ravaged building will reopen this week, just in time for Easter.

Located in the part of the city that was hit the hardest by the Thanksgiving Day floodwaters, the church had to be closed for extensive repairs.

Floors had to be replaced, drywall and insulation was cut out, while computers, a photocopier and thousands of dollars in hymn books were ruined. The church organ valued at $70,000 was destroyed when water rose to a metre inside the building.

Not all the repairs are complete but the church will hold Easter services starting tomorrow, Holy Thursday.

"People are anxious to get back home," said parishioner Donnie Ward, who like many others worried whether the church could be saved.

"Things were up in the air for a while; we didn't know if we were going to have the building, if the building was going to be torn down."

Since Thanksgiving Day, the congregation has been meeting at churches in other Sydney-area parishes. Parish priest Father Bill Burke said the goal from the beginning was to reopen for Easter.

"All restoration will be covered by insurance," he said, noting the insurance company was not interested in a rebuild.

"It was not an option," he said.

Burke estimates it may take another couple of months to complete the restoration. In the meantime, mass will take place as usual on the weekends but weekday services, such as funerals, will be held in other parishes.