Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 3, 2002
A home of superabundant love
Stony Plain, Spruce Grove parishes put aside differences in new church
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
The feast of the Holy Trinity will not only be meaningful for the parishioners of its namesake. It will also be memorable.
Located at 200 Boundary Road, between Spruce Grove and Stony Plain, the new church was dedicated by Archbishop Thomas Collins, May 26.
One can feel peace mixed with excitement from the music, to the faces of the people, to the ambiance of the church, and to the rising incense.
Collins called the church the home of the superabundant love that exists in the Holy Trinity.
"It is a physical manifestation of that love as we celebrate different sacraments. This home of faith is where people will come again and again to be freed by God."
He also preached about the blending of the profound and practical realities about the mystery of the Holy Trinity.
"When Jesus Christ pulled back the veil and revealed to us that mystery, we realized that we're made to live in relationship with one another like the Holy Trinity."
The Holy Trinity reveals to us that we are in a communion of love, he said. "Our mission in this world is to show the love of the Lord to one another."
During the Mass attended by 13 priests, the archbishop anointed and incensed the altar and the walls of the church invoking God to "make the place a visible sign of the mystery of Christ and his Church."
On June 10, 1999 Father Gordon Roebuck, then pastor, led parishioners to begin planning this new church. Nearly three years after, the people gathered to witness its dedication and blessing.
At the entrance of the church is the baptistry, symbolic of the sacrament that officially welcomes one to the Church.
On the east side of the church is an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary while St. Joseph is placed on the west side.
A small chapel for the Blessed Sacrament, decorated with grapes and wheat stained glass windows, is located at the northwest corner of the building.
The church seats 1,100 people in the pews with an overflow capacity of 400. The church hall would seat 400 at tables and 600 for seminars.
Although the church can seat 1,500 the celebration was attended by only about 800 people.
Father Paul Terrio, pastor, told the WCR, "Other people thought that it's going to be a long ceremony that there would be a great crowd. Some people were also away. So it was less than what we anticipated certainly. But it's the spirit of the celebration itself that counts. The people felt it was a very solemn and meaningful celebration."
He considers the spirit in the parish, especially during the final stages of the construction of this church, as being one of real gratitude, joy and excitement - excitement at the harmony and the symmetry of the building.
Terrio also pointed out the "atmosphere of prayer and devotion that the building embodies. They are all excited about that."
"I've seen so many people come through the main entrance, to the gathering area, they look up and they say, 'Wow! This is a church!'"
"I came here rather suddenly and I have met only welcome, cooperation and open arms. I have not experienced but good spirit. Now that I am here I realize that in this community, there is a fact of blending together of rural traditions and urban lifestyle."
The pastor believes that the new church and the centring of the parish community is an opportunity and an occasion for the people to grow together and to blend different parish backgrounds.
"People have not come to me with complaint or dissatisfaction. I observed a spirit of peace. If there is a need for healing, I think there is healing going on."
Ray Lajeunesse, chair of the parish council, agreed and said, "I think there's really healing being done. I also think that the celebration today will bring us to a focus."
"I know during the transformation of the parish there was anger among the people. But I think that Archbishop Collins was able to overcome that, " said the former Stony Plain parishioner.
Lajeunesse says people's involvement with the building construction facilitated the healing.
"The church is just a building but it's the people that make it go," he said.
Zygmund Slinko, chair of the building committee, told the WCR, "It's been the most fantastic experience of my life."
"For me the highlight of the experience is seeing the community come together and get excited about the prospect of a new church."
Slinko admitted that they were "kind of a divided community." However, he believes that the project of building the church for the whole community brought the people together and knit them as one big church family.
"I wish for our community the total joy, the total release of any stress and anxiety. It's a peaceful feeling now. Now we can go on with our spiritual journey as a united community," Slinko said.
Maxine Elsewheimer, also on the building committee, used to attend both St. Joseph's in Spruce Grove and OLPH in Stony Plain. "So I fit in with both parishes. I never felt a distinction although it was obvious that there was them and there was us. But I think that we have really become one parish."
Cheryl Chapin, is a new member of the parish. "For me it's the beginning and the end of a journey. I started with the RCIA so I've been kind of going with the church. It has become my home. This church is a fantastic and warm body of people."
For Candy Watson, the celebration was impressive. "I wish for the attendance to keep up and that a lot of people continue to come."