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A facelift for a house of God

Taloyoak Catholic mission gets $300,000 renovation

Kevin Wilson
Northern News Services

Spence Bay (Oct 29/01) - Slowly but surely, a place of worship for Catholics in Taloyoak is being revived.

The 30-year-old building has been undergoing a facelift that's been more than a year in the making.

"I was away for a little while, and when I got back, I was amazed at how much had been done," said Taloyoak's community economic development officer, Sandra Anderson, earlier this month.

"It had really taken shape while I was away," she added.

Bishop Reynald Rouleau, whose diocese includes Taloyoak, said the combination residence and chapel has been expanded, and a new meeting space added.

"That will be a church, and also an overflow space that can be used as a community hall," said Rouleau.

The Diocese of Churchill-Baie d'Hudson has spent about nearly $300,000 on refurbishing the residence and chapel. Though based in Churchill, Man., it didn't take long for the diocese to learn discover there are often unforeseen costs associated with Northern projects.

"We bought all the building materials and they came up on the barge last year," said Rouleau. The cost of barging the building supplies alone was about $75,000.

The Kitikmeot region's small Catholic community is served by one priest, who visits Gjoa Haven, Taloyoak, Kuugaarruk, Cambridge Bay and Qurluqtuq.

The visiting priest stays at the mission when he is in town. Rouleau said a lay deacon who ministers to the Kitikmeot will be ordained into the priesthood soon.

Taloyoak residents David and Theresa Totalik round out the community's pastoral team, and have been extensively involved in the renovation project.

The renovations are expected to be complete by late November.

When the mission's facelift is complete, Taloyoak's 100 or so Catholics can expect a visit from the Bishop.

"Hopefully, I'll get to spend Christmas there," said Rouleau.