(Editor’s Note: Following is the second part of the speech given by Brian Inglis during celebration of the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church, Aug. 26.)
by Brian Inglis – Special to Sylvan Lake News
Who are some of the other living long-time parishioners whose faithfulness and service over many years should be remembered?
I have used a number of around 50 years of service and worship in compiling this list. I would like to recognize Gertrude McDonald, Germaine Maga, Mary Nagy, Violet Safron, Mary Chilibeck, Nick and Joyce Ilcisin, Kay Komarnicki, Johanna Dietrich, Gaetane Henderson, Howard Kathol, Virginia and John Safronovich, Hazel Cordon, Lorne and Lucy Nielsen and the Psikla’s — Joe, Jennie and Louis. I know I will have missed somebody. There are many others that have moved or died that I have not mentioned. Their stories need to be recorded before they are forgotten. We should all be writing our memoirs before age clouds our memory.
I would like to tell you about a deceased parishioner named Katie Farrell. She deserves special mention as it is from her bequest in December 1984 that we had the seed money to buy the land west of town on which we hope to build a new church.
Just a bit of her history so you know what a saint she was. She and her husband farmed north of town and she was widowed just months before her son George was born. He had Down’s Syndrome. He remained under her care and guidance until he died just months before she passed away in 1984. She was 92. They had remained on the farm all those years.
Now for a bit of trivia.
The first baptism in the old church was on Nov. 17, 1912. The infant was Ray Arthur Loiselle. The godparents were his grandparents Alexander and Adeline Loiselle.
The first wedding in the church was that of Mary Weiss to Joseph Heinrich on Sept. 22, 1913. Their daughter Marie was born in 1914. She was the 11th baptism on the church registry. Marie will be remembered as Mary Pigeau to many of us who have been here for some time.
Germaine Maga came to Bentley in 1924 and has worshipped in Bentley or Sylvan Lake ever since. This likely makes her the oldest parishioner in our Parish and certainly the longest continuous worshipper in our church and its missions. Germaine can remember attending church in the Bentley CPR station as a child.
A short summary of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Bentley is proper at this point. It was built in 1948 to serve the community of Catholics who had worshipped in their homes and community buildings since 1909. Priests from Wetaskiwin were their initial visiting clergy. As a mission church they were served initially by Lacombe, then Sylvan Lake and finally by Rimbey/Sylvan Lake.
Does anybody know what a bundle of palms for Palm Sunday is worth?
In our parish it is worth a tray of hot cross buns. The following story was told to me by our faithful Presbyterian neighbours Harla and Rev John Yoos. They have been our neighbours for over 50 years. Over the years they and various priests and pastoral assistants have traded hot cross buns for a bundle of palms just before Palm Sunday.
The story goes that on one occasion Sister Camille declined the buns and chose the alternatively offered Chiffon cake. This tradition of hot cross buns for palms continued this year.
As part of our centenary celebrations we asked parishioners for the location or origin of their ancestors in 1912. Our current faith community has people with roots in Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, Central America and North America. Only Australia was not represented in our ancestral trees.
I was intrigued to learn that one parishioner traced his roots to a Mohawk Indian who paddled for the North West Company from Montreal to the west and back. He eventually left their service to marry a Cree woman and settled in Western Canada.
Our priests have come from France, Ireland, Canada, Poland and Nigeria.
We belong to a worldwide communion of believers, and while we are a small piece of that greater organization, we have been blessed with devoted clergy and faith-filled parishioners who in the words of our Stewardship Prayer: have followed faithfully, served joyfully, given generously, lived responsibly and possessed sensibly.
To all of you present who at some time or other, have answered the call to serve this faith community, we say a heartfelt and deeply grateful THANK YOU.