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St. Joseph Lutheran Church in Hay Lakes, Alberta is in ruins after a fire on New Year's Eve.Facebook

HAY LAKES, Alberta (LifeSiteNews) – Yet another historic Canadian church has been diminished to ashes in what police say was an intentional act of arson on New Year’s Eve.

The over 100-year-old St. Joseph Lutheran Church, located in Hay Lakes, Alberta, about 60 kilometers southeast of Edmonton, was built in 1915 and was destroyed in the fire.

“It is with great sadness that I share the news of a fire at St. Joseph’s Lutheran Church. This was one of the two churches in my former home parish, the Armena Lutheran Parish,” noted a Facebook post from the church by Pastor Olav Traa on January 1.

“This is the sight that parishioners met this morning. Please keep the congregation of St. Joe’s and their Pastor Mike Harmon in your prayers as they consider the path before them.”

According to first responders who arrived on the scene, by 11:30 p.m. the church was “completely engulfed in flames.”

The local police from the Wetaskiwin Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said the church fire was set on purpose.

“Despite efforts of the first responders, the church was completely burned,” the RCMP said in a press release.

Police are now investigating the incident.

While no one was hurt, Hay Lakes Fire Chief Bryce Wolfe lamented the loss.

“It’s a lot of history loss … a lot of the community around here has been involved for generations,” he said as noted by the Canadian Press.

Wolfe added, what is “the motive … for burning down a church?”

Last August, LifeSiteNews reported about the destruction by fire of one of the oldest standing Catholic churches in Alberta. Police said that fire was a “suspicious” incident.

The fire saw the 113-year-old Catholic church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin in the remote northern Alberta town of Fort Chipewyan reduced to nothing but its burned-out foundation. The church was built by the Oblate missionaries in 1909.

Since the spring of 2021, over 100 churches, most of them Catholic, have either been burned or vandalized across Canada. The attacks on the churches came shortly after the discovery of unmarked graves at now-closed residential schools once run by the Church in parts of Canada in the spring of last year.

In 2021 and 2022, the mainstream media ran with the inflammatory and dubious claims that hundreds of children were buried and disregarded by Catholic priests and nuns who ran some of the schools. This resulted in mass church burnings across Canada.

The RCMP has asked that anyone with information regarding the suspicious fire of St. Joseph Lutheran Church call them at 780-312-7200 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.