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'We need more than best wishes': Restoration of Windsor church faces $100K shortfall

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The work to restore Assumption Church – the oldest parish west of Montreal – is in the red and is now on an indefinite pause.

“We've raised $5.5 million dollars,” Paul Mullins said Thursday. “We spent $5,650,000. So we're about $150,000 short.”

Mullins said they told the congregation at mass on Sunday further work is now paused until they can raise that amount.

“We're determined that we're not going to leave the parish burdened with a huge debt,” he said.

The five million dollars was spent on stabilizing the church itself, fixing the roof, protecting the plaster ceilings, removing asbestos, preserving stain glass windows and upgrading electrical wiring.

“This is a hiccup; a big hiccup,” Mullins admits.

He told CTV News, however, they aren’t planning any large scale fundraisers but are hoping for financial support from the congregation.

And, Mullins’ is hopeful the broader community will rally around the artwork on the walls and ceilings.

“When we saw (one) was signed, we couldn't make out the signature until one of the artists found the biography of Guido Nincheri at Biblioasis (a Windsor bookstore),” said Mullins.

Mullins said Nincheri is considered the “Michelangelo of Canada”.

“These paintings are really priceless works of art and we've restored the one that is the Lady of the Assumption,” he said.

Once they raise the $150,000 to balance their finances, Mullins said they will be looking to raise an additional $1.5 million to complete all of the work on the church.

Mullins said they need to preserve the plaster paintings, repaint the church walls, and up-grade the electrical work.

And they still must raise $15,000 to fully restore the church’s organ.

“These incredible works of art need to be preserved and we need a lot of help to make that happen,” said Mullins. “We need more than best wishes in order to get the job done.”

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