Renaming the Franco Center is wrong. Not because I am a part of the French community in Maine, but because I have so many colleagues, friends and family who are.

The community created this incredible center and has maintained its beauty and ownership since 2000 as required by the agreement in place when they bought the church. This is a landmark, a building representing religion, history, culture, acceptance and our blended love and willingness to work, grow and learn, joining together through music, language, and culture.

Renaming it the Riverfront completely takes away the association with the church and the American French communities. It commercializes and politicizes a landmark built on faith, love and respect.

This is not only very sad and very wrong, but complete disrespect to all the people who have put their hearts and guts into it over the last 22 years.

The original intent of the Catholic Diocese was to provide a place for the Franco-American community to share culture, art, music and performance. When the beloved St. Mary’s was closed, ownership transferred to the people of the Franco-American community — the people who have been raising money and volunteering numerous hours to maintain this beautiful building, with all it represents, alive and well. To rename it is an example of how we all are losing our understanding of love, community and respect for all cultures.

I hope people will stop and listen to the voices that count, the voices that pray, the voices that are represented by this landmark.

Donna Veilleux, Farmingdale

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