Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 14, 2000
Busby parish celebrates last Mass
By CLAIRE STITSEN
Special to the WCR
The evening of Jan. 12 marked the farewell Mass of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Busby.
Amidst mixed emotions from past and present parishioners and friends, Archbishop Thomas Collins called all present to reflect on "who we are, where we've come from and where we are going."
Who are we? We are a small but vibrant parish community bordering the northern boundary of our archdiocese. Next year will be the 70th anniversary of our founding.
We have taken great pride in the faith and active ministry we share as parishioners, but also as proactive members of our archdiocese. We have had a rural catechetical program, youth group, RCIA program and parish council in place for many years.
Our parish has served and been represented at the diocesan level on DPC, RPC, Youth Commission, Social Justice Commission, family synod, Our Lady of Victory Camp and liturgical workshops.
This has provided us with an awareness and knowledge of the importance of the larger Church and faith community.
We have been blessed with many vocations from our small parish. We have been home to the families of Fathers John Hesse, David Louch and Don Stein, and Sister Elsie Stitsen. We praise and thank God for their call to ministry.
St. Anthony's has been part of the five-parish cluster along with St. Charles in Mearns, St. Emerence in Riviere Qui Barre, St. Catherine's in Calahoo, and St. Peter's in Villeneuve under the pastoral care of Fathers Paul Terrio and Gerry Gaudrault of St. Joseph's Seminary and Newman Theological College.
We wish to thank all neighbouring parishes for their support, which over the years unified us as unique faith communities. With the recommendations from ToPs, we also added the two parishes of Onoway and Lac La Nonne.
Where are we going? Our identity as a parish is changing but not ceasing. We will continue to be a small faith community within the present parish cluster and also continue as a pastoral unit with a local council, catechism, sacramental preparation, youth group, RCIA and fundraising fall supper.
We will begin to meet monthly for a short prayer hour to maintain our community. The neighbouring parish in Mearns has warmly welcomed us with our talents to their various ministries and programs.
We have become partners in a parish millennium project for Save A Family Plan by raising money for houses to be built for families in India.
During our farewell liturgy, several parishioners were recognized for being part of the parish for 50 years or more. In attendance was Isabelle Schuller, one of the first parishioners who has been part of our parish since the day the first Mass was celebrated on Dec. 24, 1930.
She clearly remembers the parish priest Father Stacy, dressed in a buffalo-robed coat pulling up to the church in a horse and cutter. The anticipation of this exciting event brought all denominations from near and far to overfill the small church on the hill.
Gas lamps hung from the ceiling and people experienced the light and felt the warmth of the love radiating throughout the events of that special first evening.
Some of those same feelings of anticipation mixed with heartfelt memories and tears of sadness permeated the farewell liturgy on Jan. 12, 69 years later.
In remembrance of our parish community, a special collection of $711 was taken that evening, for the furthering of vocations and lay ministry. It was donated to the St. Joseph's Seminary and Newman Theological College.
The reading from Sirach (2:1-11) during the farewell liturgy gave us consolation. "Consider the generations of old and see: had anyone trusted in the Lord and been disappointed? Or has anyone persevered in the fear of the Lord and been forsaken? Or has anyone called upon him and been neglected?"
Hearing these words places us in the hearts of those people long ago. As we prayed that evening, we remembered past parishioners who helped set in place the foundations of faith in our community.
Our neighbours, the Busby United Church, and all families, visitors and friends who have in faith walked and journeyed with us through the doors of St. Anthony's Parish, we thank you. You are part of who we are. With your support and prayers, you will help us become a new and changed, but strong and vibrant small faith community.
With the words of our recessional song, Lead Us On Oh Lord, we pray: Lead us where we dare not go. Lead us on oh Lord. Lead us on. Be with us as we face new days!