A 121-year-old church in Northern Alberta, Canada, was gutted by a fire set by arsonists last week.
A second church in Alberta, St Mary’s Cathedral, was also the victim of alleged attempted arson three days earlier, as local police seek assistance in identifying a man who allegedly set a fire and assaulted two staff members.
Referring to the historic St Bernard Catholic Church, Local Archbishop Gérard Pettipas, said it was “irreparably destroyed”.
“It was not only a monument to the past but [also] a vital part of the present and a building our diocese has been trying to restore, little by little, to its original beauty,” he said.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police have charged two men with break and enter to commit theft as well as arson.
Just three days before, on May 19, police responded to reports of a “deliberately set fire” at St Mary’s Cathedral in Calgary, in the western province of Alberta.
Law enforcement was called and the Calgary Fire Department put out the fire when it arrived.
More than 50 Catholic churches in Canada have been vandalised or burned down since the announcement in 2021 that graves had apparently been found near a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia.