Holy Trinity Catholic Church in the Siksika First Nation territory east of Calgary was intentionally set ablaze in the early hours of Monday morning.
It is one of the latest in a string of arsons targeting Catholic churches on First Nations territories across the country.
Fortunately, and somewhat miraculously, according to parish priest Father Long, someone happened to notice the blaze at the remote church building and notified authorities quickly enough that the fire was put out before serious structural damage could occur.
An Anglican church on the Siksika First Nation territory was also broken into, and there are signs that someone attempted to start a fire there as well. Thankfully that attempted arson also failed to cause meaningful damage to the building.
We met with Father Long, the parish priest of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, and he explained the centrality of the church building to the daily life of the local Siksika people. Father Long made it abundantly clear that this arson had most significantly and adversely affected the First Nations people who consider the building to be at the very heart of their community.
The people have shared with Father Long their sadness and desire for healing after the fire.
For the local community, the church has been part of their journey of reconciliation and a source of comfort as Canada addresses the troubling legacy of residential schools, and to see their place of worship and security attacked is truly heart-breaking.
Fr. Long’s passion for the people he serves was evident as he repeatedly told us how incredibly faith-filled and inspiring the local people are.
Bishop William McGrattan of the Diocese of Calgary was present on Monday after learning of the arson, and we are told that he spent hours listening to and praying with the church community.
The RCMP and Trudeau government have not adequately responded to this string of hate-crimes, so Ezra Levant has decided to offer $10,000 of his own money as a reward for information that leads to the arrest of the criminals who are burning down Canadian churches. Details can be found at FindTheArsonist.com.