On Sunday June 4, a special celebration was held to honor the 110th Anniversary of St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Nanton Alberta.
Construction of the church was completed on June 3, 1907. On this day Bishop Légal from St. Albert consecrated the new church and gave it the name of St. Cecilia, the patroness of church music and musicians. On this occasion we sang the last two verses of the hymn Pange Lingua in Latin as would have been heard in 1907. Certainly voices would have been raised in song; sung with joy to praise the Lord and to celebrate their new permanent place to worship.
A lovely potluck meal was enjoyed after Mass. Fr. Tim raised a glass and was joined by all to toast the 110th anniversary. A special part of the festivities was the recognition of nine longtime parishioners present that have attended this church for more than 50 years. A joyous Happy Birthday was sung and delicious cake was served.
Conversations shared this day are the reminiscing of years gone by; speaking of the present and looking forward to the future. In these busy, modern times, St. Cecilia’s is our blessing. Its longevity is visible; its architectural and spiritual character being preserved.
Over its 110-year history St. Cecilia’s has been served faithfully. Fr. Hughes from Prince Edward Island served the church and people from 1918-1933 celebrating Mass every two weeks. Fr. Rouleau, the first ordained priest from the Calgary Diocese came from 1933-1936. From 1936-1941 Rev. A. Tennant served both Stavely and Nanton. During the following six years, Fr. Murphy C.SS.R and Fr. Coyne C.SS.R, (Redemptorists) served this area and the Claresholm Air Force Base. After May 1947 the diocesan priests served. They included Fr. Pat O’Byrne, Fr. Frank Mackay and Fr. Mongeau. Fr. T. O’Riordan attended until 1977, when he was replaced by Fr. Van Tigham. From 1977 until 1998 Fr. Greg Coupal, Fr. T. Connelly, Fr. Dominic Hung Nguyen and Fr. Jim de Los Angeles were serving. For one year the church had no priest. Fr. Benedicto Marino was here from 1999-2006. Fr. Malcolm D’Souza arrived and stayed until 2010. Fr. Angelo D’Costa was present from 2010-2012. His replacement was Fr. Tim Boyle who resides in Claresholm. Currently, he oversees three parishes: Claresholm, Champion and Nanton.
An addition of a hall with seating for 100 people was completed in 1984. Now a modern, well-equipped kitchen adds many more opportunities for using our church hall. In the early 1990s, new parishioners, Ed and Francis Southgate presented the idea of having “toast and coffee” after Sunday Mass. This ritual still continues. Many parishioners linger on Sundays to share moments of togetherness, speak of current and past events, be supportive of one another and share laughter and discussions.
Skip ahead to 2017. Our church has been generously enriched throughout the years with the dedicated services of long-standing parishioners. Today, we are blessed with the arrival of new parishioners who add refreshment to St. Cecilia’s parish community. We remain very thankful to the pioneers of St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church who not only built the building, but also built the faith.
St. Cecilia’s • A Poem by Lydia Dillman
This little church for you and me
How blessed we are to practice our faith in thee
One hundred and ten years, a testament to time; this little church steadfast
The visionary pioneers from yesteryear built it to withstand and last
St. Cecilia’s devoted parishioners provide time and loving care
To ensure that this little church will always be here for prayer
Envision the last one hundred years and ten; take time to wonder
The celebrations, the challenges, and the changes; ours to ponder
Present day we celebrate this little church; its past and present
Personally each of us reflect; what St. Cecilia’s to us has meant
St. Cecilia’s; the gift of time and endurance we celebrate today
Let us be forever thankful; to God we give our praise
Jesus reminded us that “the poor will always be among us” [Deuteronomy 15:11].
Frederic Ozanam (1813 - 1853) — a student in Paris, France — recognized that to carry out the mission to alleviate the plight of the poor and marginalized in society is a challenge that is more manageable through an organization. Shortly thereafter, he formed the Conference of Charity in 1833 on the evening of his 20th birthday. Two years later, the name was changed to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP). The organization grew, and 13 years later the first SSVP conference was established in Canada.
Now, 170 years later, 871 conferences of SSVP can be found across Canada thriving on the generous dedication of more than 14,000 volunteers. In Calgary, there are more than 20 conferences involving 365 volunteers.
If successes of an army depend on its generals, so do SSVP’s achievements depend on the pastors of the parishes in which they operate. The St. Peter’s parish SSVP conference is thriving because of the pastoral leadership of Frs. Jerome Lavigne and Jonathan Gibson. Their call into action is heeded by the congregation and as such SSVP has been able to grow and receive outstanding support from parishioners, and the parish councils of the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Women’s League.
Because of the new extension to the church, SSVP has moved from using a broom-closet-sized hamper room to an operative food storage area the size of a two-car garage! More than 75 volunteers in our parish purchase, sort and collect food; deliver hampers; visit families; assess needs and seek solutions by contacting other organizations. Shelves are filled regularly by parish donations and generous school drives.
We are grateful to all of the presidents, secretaries, treasurers and other volunteers who dedicate their time and stretch each and every donation to the maximum extent in favour of the recipients.
This initiative consists of all parishes in the Diocese offering the sacrament of Reconciliation on all the Wednesdays of Advent and Lent, from 7:30-8:30 p.m., in addition to other scheduled times for Reconciliation at your parish.
Below are bulletin reflections for Rejoice in God`s Mercy, the diocesan renewal of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Please insert these reflections into your parish bulletin on February 19 and 26, March 5, 12, 19, 26, and April 2 and 9.
- Some parishes may need to extend the time to accommodate the number of penitents or speak about the initiative in advance to encourage parishioners to take advantage of the earlier dates. Make Reconciliation available at your parish on all the Wednesdays in Lent after Ash Wednesday: March 8, 15, 22 and 29, April 5, and April 12.
Rejoice in God`s Mercy
In addition to the regular parish schedule, the sacrament of Reconciliation will be available at parishes throughout the Diocese of Calgary all the Wednesdays of Lent from 7:30-8:30 p.m.
February 19: Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholics celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation because we recognise that sometimes we fail to do as we ought and because we believe in God`s mercy and forgiveness. The priest can help you and you can trust the Holy Spirit to guide you. Even if you don`t know how you can change your life, showing up makes you open to the grace that the sacrament brings. The Diocese of Calgary invites you to re-discover the meaning of the sacrament of Reconciliation in your life. Action: Speak about the sacrament of Reconciliation with someone this week. Share a positive experience or discuss your reservations with a priest or someone you know who participates in the sacrament.
February 26: Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. The Ash Wednesday Gospel opens the season of Lent by discussing the three practices that we are invited to take up: prayer, almsgiving, and fasting. The Gospel passage is taken from Jesus`Sermon on the Mount wherein he tells the disciples that he has come not to destroy the Law but to fulfill the Law through love. The Law of love is not about external appearances but about the truth in the heart. It is less important how we appear to others than how God sees us in secret. If you find any contradictions, use this season to restore wholeness to your life. Action: How are you going to express prayer, fasting, and almsgiving this Lent? Make a plan.
March 5: First Sunday of Lent
The readings today present two very different dialogs. In the first reading, Adam and Eve speak with the devil (the serpent) and, believing the lies he tells them, fall into sin. In the Gospel reading Christ rejects all of the devil's approaches and rebukes him. We need to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. Bringing our sins to confession renews our relationship with God and restores us to the joy of his salvation. Action: Begin your journey in Lent by ending any negotiations with the devil and opening up communication with God.
March 12: Second Sunday of Lent
Like Abraham, we need to trust in God to help us live the life God has laid out for us. God will transform us if we let go of what is holding us back. What is God asking us to leave behind? What barriers are stopping us? Action: Pray for an increase of faith and hope so you can act on the sacrifice God has asked of you.
March 19: Third Sunday of Lent
In Lent we contemplate our baptism and our reconciliation with God. God gave us living water at our Baptism. The new life we receive in baptism commits us to a 'holy boldness' by which we can reach out to our community and live this life to the full. Though we often fail, God calls us back and through reconciliation we can continue to live our baptismal graces. Action: Like the woman at the well, reach out to someone in your community; by your actions they will know God.
March 26: Fourth Sunday of Lent
In today’s second reading, Paul quotes an early baptismal hymn, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you!” In our baptism, God reaches out to anoint us, to heal us, and to make us whole. This overflowing of grace calls us to be children of light and to do great things for God. In confession we allow the light of Christ to expose the darkness in our life so that we can be set free to do God’s will. Action: Reach out and touch someone in your life, or a stranger, by performing a random act of kindness.
April 2: Fifth Sunday of Lent
Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Just as he raised Lazarus from the dead he can bring you to life. Reconciliation helps us turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel by removing the obstacles that hold us back. Action: On the path to Easter and the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, reflect on the words of Ash Wednesday, “Turn away from sin.”
April 9: Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
With Passion Sunday we begin the final week of Lent and prepare ourselves to celebrate the Paschal Triduum. Rejoice in God’s Mercy has aimed to invite you to participate more readily and more easily in the sacrament of Reconciliation. Reconciliation is a sacrament that Catholics can receive at any time. In addition to Rejoice in God’s Mercy on Wednesdays and scheduled diocesan penitential services, most parishes have a regularly scheduled time for Reconciliation throughout the year. If you are not available at the scheduled time or if your situation is complicated and you think you might need more time than usual, the sacrament is always available by appointment with the priest. Jesus never said it would be easy to follow him but he also gave us this sacrament to help us own up to our failings, receive his strength, and start anew. Action: Take concrete steps to make the sacrament of Reconciliation an integral part of your life as a disciple of Christ.
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It was a joyful task to ask Bishop Fred Henry for his support of the 20th annual God Squad Men’s Conference. To hear of his retirement left me with a sense of loss. However, it was with a truly heavy heart that I observed the media’s field day describing him and his actions over the years with words that did not fit who we know he is and what he has done for the Calgary Diocese.
I reflected on what a great leader Bishop Henry has been for Calgarians and the whole Catholic community. He truly was a shepherd and a father to us. What the media had maligned him for was what I loved him for. They just didn’t understand that he was protecting us with warnings that if we take a certain path, we are putting ourselves at risk. He was a warning sign to our society of hazards ahead, like a police officer giving out tickets for speeding to reduce traffic accidents and deaths. Even if you are upset with the officer, he may have just prevented an accident, and the other cars driving by also get the message to slow down.
Bishop Henry was a friend to the God Squad right from the beginning. Installed on March 19, 1998 (the feast of St. Joseph), he opened our first conference with a blessing on the following day, even though he had family in the car waiting for him to go out for dinner. Over the years, he celebrated masses and given talks and wrote letters of support for our conferences.
I remember after one conference our keynote speakers were amazed at how Bishop Henry had this large group of men enthralled with a story about a toad! He truly is a gifted communicator. I cannot help but think of the correlation between he and St. Joseph, who also protected his family, day in and day out, without thought for himself. I believe that, like St. Joseph, he did the will of the Lord with humility and grace.
This year’s conference theme is a simple celebration of our 20th Annual Men’s Conference under the patronage of St. Joseph. Please help us celebrate this milestone by sharing your past stories of how the conference has made a difference in your life and by bringing someone new with you. Email stories or pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org. Go to godsquad.ca to register, see ad on page 19 or come to the door on March 17/18. All men ages 14 years and up are invited.
This rite closes the period of the catechumenate proper of those individuals seeking Baptism at Easter and initiates the final, more intense preparation for the sacraments of initiation both for the catechumens (subsequently called the "elect") and for baptized adults seeking full communion with the Catholic Church (known as "candidates").
2017 - NEW THIS YEAR!
There will be no gathering at St. Monica's School. Please arrive DIRECTLY to St. Mary's Cathedral.
Arrive no less than 30 minutes prior to the celebration. Doors open one hour before the liturgy.
Parishes have been assigned to Saturday or Sunday.
Seating is assigned. See the head usher upon arrival and be seated by an usher.
You may fill in the registration form electronically or by hand and send by e-mail, fax, or mail.
The registration form is due no later than February 28, 2017.
Click here to download the complete registration and information package including your assigned celebration date.
Register online here for Saturday, March 4, 2017 | 7:30 pm - St. Mary's Cathedral
Register online here for Sunday, March 5, 2017 | 3:30 pm - St. Mary's Cathedral