An historic Cape Breton church has been saved from the wrecking ball and transformed from a place of worship into a place to say goodbye to loved ones.

“The intent was to save the church. It was such an integral part of the community that he just knew the setting of the church would comply with his plans for a funeral home,” says Debbie Tracey, whose brother owns T.J. Tracey Cremation and Burial Specialists in Glace Bay, N.S.

The main level of the former Holy Family Church includes two visitation rooms and a non-denominational chapel with seating for 130 people. The family-run funeral home says it offers services at affordable prices.

The new business has received a positive response from the community and from the church’s former parishioners, who say it gives them hope.

“When the doors on this church closed, they thought they would never be able to come back,” says funeral home employee Linda Tracey. “They thought they would be married here and when the end of life came for them, that they wouldn’t get to go in the church they were brought up in.”

More than 50 services have been held at the funeral home since it opened in September. From the transportation to overall services, everything is family-driven, including the baked goods that are offered to mourners.

“It’s all home-baked, taught to us by our mother who raised 15 of us,” says Linda Tracey. “It’s all her recipes that we use and a few of our own.”

“It does give them relaxation,” says Debbie Tracey. “For some people, a church is very meaningful to them, so to lay their loved one to rest in that environment means a great deal.”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kyle Moore