France: A Future Church Near Disneyland

December 15, 2022
Depiction of the church and school complex

On Sunday, October 9, 2022, Msgr. Jean-Yves Nahmias, Bishop of Meaux (Seine-et-Marne), blessed the land upon which the future Saint-Colomban church and the adjoining school will be built. Located in Val d'Europe, home to Disneyland Paris, the public interest project, valued at 40 million euros, concerns the development of the site, formerly occupied by agricultural land.

“We have launched the construction of two new churches and a school complex in Seine-et-Marne,” Bishop Nahmias told Le Figaro on September 6. “At the heart of Val d’Europe, the school will eventually be able to accommodate 1,500 students, from kindergarten to high school.”

“The large church of St. Colomban will offer a vast and suitable place for the Catholics of the territory to meet, designed to accommodate 900 faithful. As for the St. Bathilde church in Chelles, it will have 800 seats.”

This project seems “incongruous for a French Church which usually revises its size downwards,” emphasizes La Croix on October 9. But since 1990, specifies Le Moniteur de Seine-et-Marne, the local population has increased by 50%, bringing with it an influx of faithful.

Having gone very quickly from 3,000 to 35,000 inhabitants, the area no longer has a suitable church or schools.

The Catholic school project, “with respect for secularism,” is supported by the local civil authorities. And from the point of view of those responsible for Disneyland Paris, the only obligation for the diocese was to include the architectural style of Val d'Europe in its project.

Two classes are due to open at the start of the next school year in temporary buildings. Work on the site, planned in successive phases, should begin in 2023.