‘Have a coronary heart’: St. Vincent’s fights to maintain backyard honouring soldier out of church sale


Residents of a small Newfoundland neighborhood are asking the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s to take away a memorial backyard honouring a fallen soldier from the sale of their church.

In St. Vincent’s, on the southern Avalon Peninsula, the Pte. Kevin Kennedy Memorial Backyard sits on the property of Sacred Coronary heart Parish, which is up on the market by the archdiocese as a part of a liquidation of belongings to settle sexual abuse claims associated to the Mount Cashel Orphanage.

Kennedy, who served within the Royal Canadian Regiment, was killed in Afghanistan in April 2007.

Kennedy’s mom, Kay, was one in every of a number of residents who gave emotional speeches at a rally on the backyard Thursday asking the archdiocese to take away it from the land sale.

“This backyard actually means the world to us as a result of it is a spot the place you may go and be at peace. To only sit down and bear in mind Kevin and suppose good, joyful ideas,” Kennedy advised CBC Information on Thursday.

“And never just for Kevin. To consider all of the veterans in our neighborhood that sacrificed a lot. They fought for our freedom. That is why we acquired an archdiocese at present. That is why we acquired a peaceable nation — it is due to our troopers and our veterans.”

A woman stands in front of the camera. She's wearing a poppy on her black and white striped shirt, along with a pair of aviator sunglasses.
Kevin Kennedy’s mom, Kay, says she’s heartbroken by the potential lack of the memorial backyard. (Curtis Hicks/CBC)

Kennedy says she’s indignant and heartbroken over the potential lack of the backyard.

She hopes the archdiocese will change its thoughts and separate the backyard from the sale of the church or that whoever buys the property will go away the backyard because it stands.

“It is like they do not care. No person cares. My son gave his all, together with many extra veterans. It is simply so unhappy,” she mentioned. “Please, have a coronary heart.”

John Sloan, a retired sergeant of each the Royal Canadian and Royal Newfoundland regiments, fought with Kennedy in 2007. 

“I am going to all the time bear in mind him till the day I die,” Sloan mentioned. “He is an amazing man, a patriot for his nation, and I am actually disgusted that the chance exists that this can be taken down in assist of Kevin and different veterans from this space.”

The sentiment was echoed by John Barnes, a retired chief warrant officer of the Royal Canadian Regiment who visits the backyard at any time when he returns to Newfoundland.

“We fought in the identical piece of filth in Afghanistan. So he’s my brother, and after I heard what was taking place right here it was devastating,” he mentioned.

‘We cannot go down with no combat’

St. Vincent’s-St. Steven’s-Peter’s River Mayor Verna Hayward mentioned the neighborhood has been shaken by the potential sale of the church, however the lack of the backyard would particularly sting.

A woman speaks to a crowd holding a microphone.
St. Vincent’s Mayor Verna Hayward speaks throughout Thursday’s rally on the backyard. (Curtis Hicks/CBC)

“We simply cannot sit again on our haunches and hope and pray that it isn’t going to go. We simply must hope that if somebody is to purchase that church, that they go away the backyard,” Hayward mentioned. 

“Or the archdiocese see it of their knowledge to take it away from the deal altogether. It does not must be a part of the deal.”

Hayward hopes the neighborhood outcry can attraction to the archdiocese to save lots of the backyard, saying a spot of peace should not must be the positioning of a rally to save lots of the center of the neighborhood.

“We cannot go down with no combat,” she mentioned. “The backyard means loads.”

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