"Sainte-Bathilde Church, heading for 2025": these words will be displayed on the T-shirt worn by Father Jean-Baptiste Pelletier, next Sunday, during the 56th Foulées de l'amitié organized in Chelles, by the USO Chelles. "My goal is to take advantage of this event in our city to make known the future church, which will emerge from the ground on Place Cala in 2025," smiles the vicar of the missionary pole of Chelles. The priest will run the 10 km, while parish priest Hubert Louvet – who will also participate in the event – will opt for the 5 km course.
"Society is fragmented. The church is a place to welcome everyone, where we can forge links, live fraternity, "says Jean-Baptiste Pelletier. The other goal of these two religious is also to collect donations for the construction of the place of worship, which will also be a sanctuary dedicated to Sainte-Bathilde. The call of the Catholic Church has been heard: 55 children and adults will start alongside them on Sunday, with the same T-shirt on their backs, in addition to the race bib. By registering, these athletes "promised" to make donations. The total amount raised is estimated at around 1,000 euros. Runners will have a choice of four races, ranging from 1.5km (for children) to 21.1km (half marathon).
The model of the future church at the starting point
It is next autumn that the construction of the future Sainte-Bathilde church should start, with the laying of the first stone. At the moment, it is still a wasteland. In June 2021, the old chapel - enclosed between two buildings at 39, avenue de la Résistance - had been deconsecrated before its demolition, on the occasion of an exceptional mass presided over by Mgr Jean-Yves Nahmias, the bishop of the diocese of Meaux. The chapel - built in the early twentieth century, before being enlarged in 1960 and rebuilt in 1989 - could then house 200 faithful.
Since then, they have attended services at St. Andrew's Church and the Rose Garden Chapel. Eventually, a place of worship will emerge from the ground that will be able to accommodate 800 faithful, a presbytery (where four priests and seven seminarians will be housed) and a parish center. The model of the future church will be installed Sunday morning at the starting point of the races, at Fort de Chelles.
Anyone who wishes to make a donation can go to the website https://www.desracinesversleciel.fr/