St. Theresa Point church burns down in suspected arson on Easter Sunday

A 32-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of arson after St. Theresa Point’s Roman Catholic church went up in flames and burned to the ground on Easter Sunday.

Manitoba RCMP media relations officer Sgt. Paul Manaigre told CBC News April 4 that the fire was reported to Island Lake RCMP around 2:50 p.m. on Sunday by First Nation Safety Officers. They were told a man had been seen leaving the church around the time the fire started. He was located and arrested. No one was injured in the blaze.

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St. Theresa Point First Nation Chief Marie Wood told CBC that the only remnants left of the approximately 65-year-old church after the fire was extinguished were a monument to the Virgin Mary and one of a longtime priest in the community who is buried on the church grounds.

Plans were already underway to replace the church, which needed repairs to fix structural and plumbing issues, and members of the remote First Nation have raised about $150,000 over the past few years, though the expected cost of a new church will likely be closer to $1 million, according to Wood.

A prayer meeting was held on Sunday night at the spot where the church used to stand. 

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