The 100-year-old Catholic Church in Vita has a new roof.  

Four months ago, the church bells at San Isidore Church were heard ringing once again. Since then, the church has been filled each weekend for Mass. With the congregation steadily growing came the recognition that the building needed some repairs.

Catholic Church near Vita with old shingles, prior to renovation (Photo credit: Edwin Sonsona)Catholic Church near Vita with old shingles, prior to renovation (Photo credit: Edwin Sonsona)

With the wet spring, rainwater was noticed coming into the rectory on the north-west corner of the building. The church was quoted $8,000 to purchase, remove, and replace the shingles.  Money the small congregation did not have.  

Edwin Sonsona from the Steinbach Catholic church saw the need.

"It all started when we realized the church roof urgently needed repair," Sonsona recalled, reflecting on the critical moment when the community rallied behind him. "We needed over $8,000 just for the shingles alone." 

The response was immediate and heartwarming.  

"Within 24 hours, we had raised more than $9,700. People just kept giving, $50 here, $100 there. It was unbelievable." 

Sonsona says that was a good start, as not only did they need to repair the shingles, but they still need a well for water, plumbing, and bathroom facilities.  

Sonsona says they decided to use Summer in the City to fundraise, selling skewers and spring rolls.  

"We made over 2,000 skewers in one day and sold 2,600 spring rolls over the weekend." 

He says the event was a resounding success, exceeding all expectations. "We sold about $9,800 in total and after expenses, we had around $4,400, which we split between the Vita church renovations and our youth programs."

Volunteers at the Catholic Church food booth during Summer in the City (Photo credit: Edwin Sonsona)Volunteers at the Catholic Church food booth during Summer in the City (Photo credit: Edwin Sonsona)

Sonsona says it wasn’t just about raising money. "It was also about the community coming together, supporting each other. We had volunteers from all over, friends stopping by—it was inspiring." 

The proceeds from the fundraiser were not only a financial relief but also a symbol of unity and strength for the Vita community. "It's like a dream come true. God provides when you do His will."

The success of 'Summer in the City' not only fixed the roof but also paved the way for future restoration projects.  

"Next up, we're painting the outside church walls and upgrading the water system. We estimate it will cost about $20,000, but with the support we've received, I have faith we can make it happen." 

Sonsona notes that local businesses have also stepped up, offering discounts and support for upcoming projects. "The community here is amazing. They've been with us every step of the way." 

Looking ahead, Sonsona remains hopeful and determined. "We're planning more fundraisers and events. The support has been overwhelming, and we're not stopping until the church is fully restored." 

Sonsona appreciates all the support. "I want to thank all our sponsors, benefactors, and everyone who enjoyed our skewers and spring rolls. Your support means everything to us." 

He adds the work of restoring the church is for the community in Vita and a lesson of community and friendship.  

"Less for ourselves, more for others—it's enough for everyone." 

Volunteers at the Catholic Church food booth during Summer in the City (Photo credit: Edwin Sonsona)