Members of Brampton church destroyed by fire gather for Easter Mass
Published Sunday, April 20, 2014 1:24PM EDT
Members of Brampton’s St. Elias the Prophet Ukrainian Catholic Church gather for an emotional Easter Mass on Sunday morning.
Members of a Brampton church that was ravaged by a massive fire gathered with friends and loved ones for an emotional Easter Mass on Sunday morning.
St. Elias the Prophet Ukrainian Catholic Church, located near Heritage Road and Bovaird Drive, was completely gutted after a two-alarm blaze ripped through the wooden building in early April, destroying years of memories and causing more than $500,000 in damage.
The church was a beloved landmark in the community, famous for its ornate architecture, decorated walls and priceless religious artifacts.
About one hundred worshippers gathered for an early-morning Easter service Sunday inside a tent that was set-up a few feet from the charred remains of the old church.
Father Roman Galadza, church pastor and spiritual leader, offered words of comfort to his followers during the outdoor ceremony.
“What took place there is not evil for us. It is an opportunity for grace for us – a hard lesson, but a necessary one,” he told worshippers.
“In God’s time, in not too long a time, your children will have a place to marry and be baptized,” he added.
“We’ve been given the opportunity to see God’s work among us in the most unusual manner.”
Candles and flowers adorned a makeshift altar as worshippers sang hymns and reflected in solemn prayer.
Church leaders led the congregation in prayer, asking followers to be grateful for what remains.
Church bells rang out at the end of service as worshippers made their way outside the tent, carrying Easter baskets filled with eggs and bread.
John Stranart, a church member for the past 20 years, said besides the chilly weather, the service felt very much the same.
“The service today was colder than normal, (but) in terms of the feeling – the music was there, the candles, the icons, the sense of community was there. It was normal, it didn’t feel that different from last year,” he told CTV Toronto.
Fellow church member Mary Kocur said the community is looking forward to rebuilding the beloved church as soon as possible.
“We were here when the church was being built and we even hammered some nails into the wood,” she said.
“We’re able to do it again, we’re here to do it again, we’re eager to do it again - life goes on and it’s Easter and it’s happy,” she added.
The church has set up an online donation page at CanadaHelps.org to help with the rebuilding process.
Officials have said the circumstances of the fire do not seem suspicious and are working to investigate the cause of the blaze.