Parish History

St. Augustine Parish began as a mission of Holy Family Parish.

  In June, 1975 Bishop Mahoney presided at a meeting in Holy Family Parish to discuss the St. Augustine area of East College Park.  It was decided to build a chapel attached to the new school and this would become the centre of a future parish. At that time the chapel cost $28,000. Mass was first celebrated there on October 5, 1975.  One year later on October 3, the official opening and blessing took place.  During this time, pastors from Holy Family Parish would come and preside at our liturgies.  The following summer, 1977, Fr. Des Leeper was named pastor of the area. 

            A house was bought to serve as Fr. Leeper’s rectory (14 Laurentian Drive) at a cost of $47,000.  The first parish council was formed in March 1978 with Jerry Meckelborg as chairman.  Later that year in August, Fr. Bob Chisholm, a member of the Basilian Community, was named pastor. 

            In November, 1979, discussions began of building a church.  At that time it was estimated that we had 400 families, with approximately 180 of those families being regular supporters.  Some of the people on the Building Committee were:  Brian Noonan, Ron Brons, Brian Hicke, Ivan Kowalski, Alan Hoffman, Bob Wollbaum, Jerry Kristian, Wilf Hiebert, John Daunt, Al Haubrich, Maurice Tremblay, Randy Warick, Lorne Keller (many of these people are still active parishioners here at St. Augustine) and Sr. Juliana who was principal of St. Augustine School.  Early in 1980 Bishop Mahoney approved a plan to build a church on to the school.  Approval from the Diocese is granted on the condition that half of the funds needed would be in the bank before construction begins.  The estimated cost of the church was $320,000.00. So began a round of fundraising – dances, raffle tickets and a walk-a-thon, followed by the canvassing of parishioners.  The original plan was to build the church alongside the school gym, but with doors that could be opened up to utilize the gym area as part of the church.  But the School Board decided to build a larger gym at the west end of the school.  It was decided at that time to build the church (a self-contained facility) at the same time as the new school gymnasium to save construction costs.  The Chapel was sold to the school for $25,000.  If you are in the music room sometime, the raised portion is actually the area, where the sanctuary used to be. The passageway between the church and music room used to be the confessional. 

            The sod turning ceremony took place on June 21, 1981 with Miners Construction completing construction by May, 1982.  The opening ceremony for the new church was held on June 20, 1982 with Bishop James Mahoney presiding.  In June, 1986 having paid off the mortgage on the church, we had a mortgage burning ceremony, at Fr. Bob Chisholm’s farewell.

            March, 1983 – Catholic Women’s League was set up.

            April, 1991 – Knights of Columbus Council #10587 was formed. 

Needing a larger meeting room and office space the rectory at 14 Laurentian Drive was sold and the rectory at 53 Malcolm Place was bought in 1994.

            As the years passed, we had different pastors.  After Fr. Bob, Fr. George Sylvester came in 1986 – 1992.  Then Fr. Edwin Kline came and was here for nine years, other than an eight month sabbatical that he took in 1995, when Fr Jay Walsh filled in.  Due to the shortage of priests, the Basilian Fathers decided to no longer staff St. Augustine Parish as of July 1st, 2001.  After much re-structuring in the Diocese at that time, we welcomed Fr. Michel Bedard, a diocesan priest, as our pastor.  This brought many changes to our weekend and weekday mass schedules, as we have to share Fr. Mike with Our Lady of Lourdes.  If we could just get Fr. Mike to figure out how to be in two places at the same time, we’d have it made.

            As well we have had different pastoral associates – Dan Gerwing, Jim Cruthers, Sr. Mary Sibbald, Marla Hartman, Ted Polz, and now Terry Lepage and Sharon Powell. 

            We have developed an active youth group with co-ordinators Anita Verlangen, Francis Maza, Janine Warick, Jill Deacon, Rhonda Schaan, David & Rosa Caswell, Kristen Freistadt. 

            At present we have 650 registered families. Over the years we have developed an active children’s liturgy program, music ministry, small Christian communities that gather to reflect on the Word of God, a social committee, and a Ministry of Care to deal with the sick, the elderly, the housebound, and the grieving of our parish. Sacramental Preparation and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is on-going.    The parish also has active committees involved in Social Justice, Ecumenism, Development and Peace,   and Pro Life.  We also have a very active group that meets once a month after the Sunday morning mass – our “Kids 4 Christ” group  that was started by Shawn & Janine Baier.

With the different pastors, we had to adapt to new personalities and what makes each pastor unique.  Many of you will remember Fr. Bob Chisholm, standing outside the church, getting in those last two puffs of his cigarette before mass.  Or Fr. Bob standing on the sidewalk at school dismissal time, greeting all the kids by their first name.

We welcomed Fr. George, a great educator, who taught us all about this wonderful church we belong to.  He introduced us to Joe Christian, as he pointed his crooked finger, and said ‘get this straight’.  Fr. Ed introduced us to the art and his love of wine and beer-making.  And although Fr. Jay was only here for 8 months, we learned of his love of people, and the competitiveness of his golf game.

Now Fr. Mike, we could say is a breath of fresh air, but he’s more of a whirlwind, who has brought laughter to our church, and whose love of family and friends shines through in all he does.  As well, over the years we had different priests stay at the rectory – Fr. Basil, Fr. Ron Griffin and Fr. Joe Penny. 

It’s always interesting to dig through the boxes of old records and archives.  We can learn much from the past, as we look forward to the future. 

(Written by Toni Ducklow for the 2007 pictorial directory)           

                

 

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Sunday Services

Sunday Masses: 
Saturday 7:00 p.m, Sunday 9:30 a.m.

Confession : After the Saturday 7:00 p.m. mass
Eucharistic Adoration: Thursday at 7:00 p.m.

Office Hours:
Mon. to Fri. 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Phone: 373-3453
Fax: 477-2571
email: staug.office@shaw.ca