WCR PHOTO | CHRIS MILLER

Our Lady of Angels new rectory can eventually house three priests.

May 30, 2011
CHRIS MILLER
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

FORT SASKATCHEWAN - The Fort Saskatchewan parish, Our Lady of the Angels, has a beautiful new rectory to house its two priests.

The one-storey structure located directly behind the church is more than 4,000 square feet and has all of the amenities needed for comfortable modern living.

The rectory is contemporary and fresh, with plenty of greys and browns in the colour schemes. It has four bedrooms and six bathrooms. Upstairs has a kitchen with hardwood floors and plenty of cupboard space and counter space.

Also upstairs is a common dining area, and a dramatic large living room with a fireplace, and doors that open onto a large deck. Downstairs is a small chapel and entertainment room.

"The rectory is a bi-level home, with 2,000 square feet on the main floor and 2,000 square feet on the basement level. There is an attached three-car garage, so from the outside it looks like a regular home," said Dennis Dembicki, who chaired the parish's building committee.

Dembicki said the space is used efficiently, and no area goes to waste, no clutter. The rectory has enough room to house four priests, each with their own spacious bedroom, private office area, ensuite bathroom, and walk-in closet. Every bedroom has the same basic design.

VIEW OF THE FORT

Every bedroom provides a view of an exhibit of the North West Mounted Police Fort, deemed a must-see attraction in the community. The location also ensures that no other homes will be built nearby.

The two priests serving the parish now are the pastor, Father Francis Mariappa, and associate pastor, Father James Banu Bodula.

Our Lady of the Angels is the administration centre for Our Lady of Good Counsel at Skaro Shrine, Sacred Heart at Gibbons, St. Clare at Redwater, and St. Michael the Archangel.

Dembicki has heard rumours that the parish might be getting a third priest to serve it. If a third priest moves in, the rectory will still have a guest room.

Mariappa has been instrumental in moving this parish forward to build a rectory that can be lived in for many years.

A local parishioner who donated her time and architectural design skills for the project, designed the floor plan.

It took about 18 months to get final approval for the building of the new rectory. Once approval was granted, the parish received some competitive bids on pricing, and eventually accepted a good price from a local contractor.

The final cost of the project will be close to $500,000, Dembicki said.

Archbishop Richard Smith blessed the new rectory on May 15, following Sunday Mass. A few finishing touches need to be done before the priests move in.

"We are just starting to furnish it, and we are doing the driveway now," said Dembicki.