3 groups submit joint bid to buy iconic St. John’s Basilica

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A trio of groups join forces to try to buy the iconic Basilica of St. John the Baptist in St. John’s.

Details of a letter outlining the plan from the Basilica Heritage Foundation, St. Bonaventure’s College and St. Bon’s Forum Corporation to submit a joint bid on the historic building have been shared with CBC News.

This would see the groups preserve the building as a cathedral and a place of worship.

The basilica and other church properties in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s are being sold to help pay millions for victims of sexual abuse by Christian brothers at the former Mount Cashel orphanage.

According to the letter, the joint offer is for the purchase of the basilica and a block of adjoining properties including the Collège Saint-Bonaventure, which is a private school, and a hockey rink on the same property.

If the offer is successful, the letter indicates that the Basilica Heritage Foundation will maintain the cathedral as a religious, heritage and cultural center, as the central church of St. John.

Collège Saint-Bonaventure would continue to operate as a private school and the establishment would keep the hockey rink.

In an email to CBC News, Archbishop Peter Hundt said the proposal has the potential for the basilica to become home to the amalgamated Catholic community of central St. John’s.

But Hundt said the church would not comment further until the bidding process is complete.

Potential buyers have until June 2 to submit their offers.

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