On May 5, 2012 Catholic Diocese of Victoria Bishop Richard Gagnon and T’Sou-ke Nation Chief Gordon Planes led celebrations marking the official opening of the new St. Rose of Lima Catholic church in Sooke.
The day’s activities included: the formal gifting by Bishop Gagnon of the old church building to the T’Sou-ke Nation for use as native arts and culture centre; the welcoming of church parishioners by Chief Planes to the land on which the new church has been built (like all land in Sooke, it is part of the T’Sou-ke Nation’s traditional territory); the blessing of the new church building by Bishop Gagnon and T’Sou-ke Nation Elder Shirley Alphonse; and a special mass, to be conducted by Bishop Gagnon and to include drummers and singers from the T’Souke Nation and the St. Rose of Lima choir.
The move from the old church across from Edward Milne School to the new church on Townsend Road marks the end of over ten years of planning and fundraising for a facility designed to help meet the needs of St. Rose of Lima parishioners and Sooke residents in the twenty-first century. St. Rose parish has been located at the old site for more than 85 years.
The new 4,600-square-foot church is a multi-functional, single-floor design which allows for a wide range of religious, educational and community activities.
Responsible environmental stewardship is also a key factor in the design. For example, rainwater will be collected and dispersed in a measured way through a series of rain gardens on the property, to ensure the soil is continually nourished with water in order to protect the habitat and slow down water runoff into Sooke’s Nott Brook watershed.