On September 23, we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Canadian Martyrs Parish. It was a joyous event capping off a year of special events and planning. The choir, under the direction of Andreas and Kathryn Berko, was jubilant in song. Kathryn composed The Mass of the Canadian Martyrs, while Caroline Panlilio composed the Responsorial Psalm.
Bishop McGrattan spoke eloquently about a church building and its relationship to the community over 50 years. He reiterated the Gospel message: “…the first will be last and the last shall be first” [Matthew 20: 1 - 16] At the beginning of the 50 years, the parishioners built up the parish memories with many sacraments performed; and now the newest parishioners continue on!
Following the Mass, parishioners and guests attended a dinner and gathering at Varsity Community Hall where we enjoyed speeches and parish entertainment along with the St. Francis School Jazz Ensemble. With 250 people present, the mood was celebratory and included much visiting among parishioners, past and present, including pastors. Fr. Vincent’s address traced the pioneer spirit of the Canadian Martyrs to the parish’s first priest Msgr. Joseph Le Forte and other founding parishioners, some of whom were present. Quoting Msgr. Le Forte from the 10th Anniversary, “…through it all the families of Canadian Martyrs formed a strong community of faithful and loyal people that work together in a most remarkable manner…” In a toast to the priests who had served, and continue to serve as the parish’s pastors, being men who had brought life to the inanimate building – no matter how beautiful – and the visible results of 50 years of their dedicated, visionary hard work, all rose in their honour and in thanks to those pastors absent or whom have gone before us.
The Closing Hymn at the Mass echoed the 50th Anniversary theme: “We are a pilgrim people, we are the Church of God. A family of believers, disciples of the Lord. United in one spirit, ignited by the fire. Still burning through the ages, still present in our lives.”
This initiative consists of all parishes in the diocese offering the sacrament of Reconciliation on all the Wednesdays of Advent and Lent from 7:30-8:30pm 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 each Sunday from Feb 11 to Palm Sunday.
- Note that 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 Wednesdays February 21, 28; March 7, 14, 21 & 28, from 7:30 – 8:30pm.
You might like to use this paragraph to advertise the initiative in your parish bulletin:
The Diocese of Calgary invites you to experience the peace, love, and joy brought by participating in the sacrament of reconciliation. 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 – 8:30pm.
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 11, 6th Sunday of 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. Action: Share your faith in God’s mercy with others and let them know that it is available for them also.
February 18: Lent I
As we begin Lent, the desert is not a place for us to fear, but a place of encountering the Holy Spirit. The Spirit can reveal what binds us, as well as what steals from our freedom to be the person God created us to be. Action: Throughout the forty days of Lent, pray to the Holy Spirit to advocate for you and free you from whatever keeps you from greater intimacy with God.
February 25: Lent II
While Peter tells Jesus “it’s good to be here”, he is also genuinely terrified. The work of a Christian calls for our courage, trust, and faith. The challenges of Christian living bring us out of complacency and into authentic discipleship where we encounter Christ in one another. Action: Go outside of your comfort zone. Ask the Holy Spirit to identify Christ to you in people you may have overlooked.
MARCH 4: LENT III
Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. He quickly responds to the appalling acts taking place in the temple with holy audacity, righteous anger, and consuming zeal. Just as Jesus clears the temple, if we are living temples of the Holy Spirit, we can also ask what abominations are taking place in us. Action: Pray to the Holy Spirit to identify what needs to change in your life. Dare to ask God for help and mercy.
MARCH 11: LENT IV
The image of the crucifix is itself a prayer for many Catholics. We are encouraged to rest our eyes upon the crucifix and see the One, who has created all things. As you ponder the meaning of the Cross, above all consider this: God chose that His only Son suffer upon the Cross that we might be healed. Action: Spend time in quiet in front of a cross or crucifix. Observe how this contemplation affects you.
MARCH 18: LENT V
A seed must die to produce new life. In dying to self we choose to trust and to exercise faith, hope and love. These virtues lead us into intimate contact with God and transform us into new life in the image of Christ. Action: What can you do to die to self during this week of Lent? Which virtues will help you to glorify God in this way?
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. Most parishes have a regularly scheduled time for Reconciliation throughout the year or by appointment. 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.
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.
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.