Interim deal using money from Chase the Ace will see St. Kevin’s Parish in Goulds become the only Roman Catholic parish in Newfoundland and Labrador to ‘own itself’

ST. JOHN’S, NL — A highly successful Chase the Ace fundraiser in 2017 will allow St. Kevin’s Roman Catholic Parish in the Goulds area of ​​St. John’s to retain its church and parish hall, once the courts approve a deal announced Monday, February 28.

The parish may be the envy of other parishes as Roman Catholic properties and buildings in the greater St. John’s area are appraised for potential sale – as well as parish consolidation and downsizing – to help settle compensation claims for victims of sexual abuse. by some Christian brothers at the former Mount Cashel Boys’ Orphanage in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

St. Kevin’s Roman Catholic Church in Goulds. KEITH GOSSE • THE TELEGRAM – Saltwire Network

St. Kevin’s held a very popular Chase the Ace fundraiser which brought the parish about $5.5 million in profits.

Lawyers were due to argue Monday in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador on how much, if any, Chase the Ace funds should be used to pay compensation claims.

Discussions between lawyers held last week and over the weekend resulted in a compromise.

St. John’s attorney Geoff Budden, who is representing more than 60 of the plaintiffs, told Judge Garrett Handrigan on Monday that the parties have reached an interim resolution pending court approval.

“There has been significant communication between the attorneys throughout the past week and over the weekend, and late (Sunday afternoon) we came to what we believe is a resolution to this dispute… of this particular piece of litigation,” Budden said. “We have reached what we believe to be a satisfactory and fair resolution.”

Geoff Budden.  - Photo of SaltWire network file
Geoff Budden. – Photo of SaltWire network file

Details of the resolution were not presented to the court on Monday. Lawyers will hold further negotiations to finalize details and prepare resolution documents, and bring them back to court for approval.

Also at that time, Budden said, they intend to seek an order to seal the monetary aspect of the resolution “given some of the business aspects of this matter and the many other negotiations that will take place over the course of the next few moments”.

Attorney Kyle Rees, who represents St. Kevin’s Parish, said getting court confirmation of the resolution agreement would be important to his client.

“There’s $5.5 million in a bank account that the creditors wanted access to, and the argument at the hearing (Monday) was going to be whether they would get all $5.5 million or s ‘They wouldn’t get anything out of it,’ he said. . “So the compromise on the settlement was in light of that. If (St. Kevin’s) didn’t have that Chase the Ace money, there wouldn’t have been such talks. They are in a somewhat privileged position compared to other churches.

Kyle Rees.  - Photo of SaltWire network file
Kyle Rees. – Photo of SaltWire network file

The Corp. Roman Catholic Episcopal Church of St. John’s — the legal entity of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s — has been found vicariously liable for acts of abuse that occurred at the Mount Cashel Orphanage. The archdiocese had argued that the orphanage was independent of it and took the case to the Supreme Court of Canada, which declined to hear the archdiocese’s appeal from a Supreme Court of Appeal decision of Newfoundland and Labrador who sided with the victims of sexual abuse. .

The January 2021 ruling from the nation’s highest court ended a long and uphill battle lasting more than 20 years for former residents turned elderly men.

The archdiocese then filed for protection against its creditors.

    - Saltwire Network
– Saltwire Network

Archbishop Peter Hundt said in December the archdiocese had filed a notice of intent to make a proposal under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

“Indeed, we will be requesting additional time to complete our valuation of our assets, formally seek claims against the Archdiocese, and develop a proposal to our creditors to settle victim claims and creditor liabilities,” he said. said at the time in a statement. “This process will involve the Archdiocese marketing of dioecious properties, including church buildings, to satisfy claims. It will be a transparent process judged by the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

In addition to clients of Budden’s firm, the decision could also affect the unresolved cases of other plaintiffs represented by various attorneys, and new plaintiffs coming forward – totaling more than 100 – and representing claims that are expected to top a total of $50 million. of dollars.

The archdiocese was also named a co-defendant in a British Columbia class action lawsuit with 30 plaintiffs.

Rees said that due to the sealing order request, the amount of Chase the Ace money that St. Kevin’s will be able to keep will not be disclosed to the public. The property, however, will be listed in the court order and will be subject to publicly registered property deeds.

“The parish hall and church will be transferred to St. Kevin’s for full ownership,” he said. “These properties are worth over a million dollars. And that’s important because it makes St. Kevin’s the first and, to my knowledge, the only self-owned Catholic church in Newfoundland and Labrador. All the other churches belong to (the archdiocese) and that is why the archdiocese goes bankrupt and sells all these churches. The parishioners don’t have much to say about it.

“As well as some money, the fact that St. Kevin’s is now going to own their church and church hall means they have those properties in perpetuity, to run or do with as they please.” . Regardless of what happens to the (Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of St. John’s) in the future, St. Kevin’s can continue to do whatever it needs to do.

The case is expected to return to court for resolution approval within a month.

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