100-year-old Catholic Vita Church urgently needs a new roof –


Exactly three months and 16 days have passed since the reopening of the Catholic Church in Vita, Manitoba.

The 100-year-old St. Isidor Church stood empty for many years until last fall when a resident of Steinbach and member of the Catholic Church in Steinbach opened the doors to offer local parishioners a place for their worship.

Edwin Sonsona says that since taking over the building, they have realized that repairs are needed. “It is very old. A 100-year-old church. So the first plan was to dig a well for water. But now we realize that the roof shingles urgently need to be replaced.”

Sonsona says water has been seeping into the sanctuary on the southwest side of the building, where the priest is. Upon inspection, he noticed that the roof shingles were very old. “Imagine how many years those shingles have been there. It's like they're disappearing and falling apart. So I was there two weeks ago to talk to Father Paul and said, 'Let's replace the shingles.'”

Sonsona said they got some bids from the area and found someone who would replace the shingles for $8,000. When the pastor asked Sonsona where the money would come from, he said, “Don't worry about the money. The money will come. We will replace the shingles before everything in the church rots. Don't worry about the money. The Lord will provide.”

Sonsona points out that they had already signed up to have a food stand at “Summer in the City” in Steinbach the following weekend before they realized that the roof shingles on Vita Catholic Church needed to be replaced.

Now that money is needed for repairs, Sonsona plans to sell spring rolls and noodles and host a barbecue. Fifty percent of the proceeds will go to the Shingles Project and the other 50 percent will help fund her youth's trip to a national conference in Toronto this summer.

Sonsona smiles and says, “No wonder we planned this fundraiser. I mean, we are selling barbecue food for this purpose. We will donate to the church in Vita and the youth members of the Missionary Families of Christ.”

He adds that people who wish to donate more have the option to issue a donation receipt.

Sonsona says the removal of the old shingles and their replacement with new ones will take place next weekend, Saturday, June 8, which he is very excited about.

The front entrance of the Catholic Church Vita (Photo: Edwin Sonsona)The front entrance of the Catholic Church Vita (Photo: Edwin Sonsona)

According to Sonsona, there are other projects planned for the Vita Church, including the construction of a well, which he said will cost around $15,900.

He points out that while they hope to pay for the roof shingles through donations, they will wait to build the well if the money for it does not come in.

Sonsona says the list of necessary repairs for an old building is long, but they will start with the most urgent repairs first. “The roof is very urgent and then the water, after that we can do the rest on a volunteer basis, like painting inside and washing outside walls. So, yes, that will be very easy because the church is not big, so we can handle that easily.”

Sonsona says they already have volunteers on site mowing the lawn around the church, and another company has placed a construction waste container next to the church.

“And then we can put the old roof shingles and other junk in there, and he won't charge us anything. He'll only charge us a fee when he removes them from the property. So maybe it'll take six months or a year to fill up, that's OK. But now it's so timely because we have to replace the singles.”

Catholic parish of Vita with rubble container next to it waiting for roof shingles and other renovation waste (Photo: Edwin Sonsona)Catholic parish of Vita with rubble container next to it waiting for roof shingles and other renovation waste (Photo: Edwin Sonsona)

Sonsona asks for help. “I ask that the people in our community can help us. If you can help us rebuild our church there, please let us know. And everyone is welcome to come and pray with us in the church in Vita.”

“Right now we are repairing the church and rebuilding it so that it is in good condition again. So I ask everyone to give donations that they can pass on. Just give your donation to the parish of Saint Isidore in Vita. Thank you very much.”

Sonsona says that since they moved to Vita Church, new people have been coming to the church, about 30 every weekend. “So that's a lot of locals and then the Filipino and other Asian congregations there.”

He says there is expected to be less growth in the church due to the summer holidays, but Sonsona says the community of believers at Vita is committed.