Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 30, 2005
Lac Ste. Anne Church has had long journey
Original building brought to current site by tractors in 1930
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Lac St. Anne
The tiny church near the shores of Lac Ste. Anne was overflowing May 22 when more than 100 parishioners filled the pews and an adjacent tent to celebrate Mass honouring its 75th anniversary.
Archbishop Thomas Collins was on hand along with Father Alex Carrier, which made the moment exciting for pastoral assistant Janine Hodgson.
"This is a very special day. And with the archbishop here, it is extra special," said Hodgson, whose daughter Madeleine received her First Communion at the Mass.
"This parish centres us and if we make the Eucharist the centre of our lives then we are all bonded as one. You cannot get any stronger than with God's presence," she said.
"I will be together with God. I will have lots of strength," Madeleine said.
The site has been home to the Lac Ste. Anne Pilgrimage for more than 100 years.
The original mission church, built in 1889, burned to the ground in 1928.
An excavation for a new building was dug and an appeal was made to the pilgrims, but it was the Great Depression and few donations were made.
So in May 1930, an Oblate priest bought a meeting hall that was no longer in use. Several farmers laid fence posts and rolled the hall about a mile, pulling it with their tractors.
Between 1965 and 1974, aluminum siding was installed. About 15 years ago, the weight of the roof began pushing out the walls. Parishioners installed metal rods to hold up the walls.
The church continues to be a centre of the community.
Collins spoke of living the life of God by giving of ourselves through loving, generous relationships. Doing so provides the strength of the Holy Trinity and the ability to move mountains, and churches.
"As we live, the Holy Trinity in our lives is the mystery of the very life of God," Collins said. "God calls us to delve into the mysteries of our faith."
Relationships with the generous, personal love are the heart of God, Collins said. "This is a taste of divine life here on earth, giving of ourselves for others."
Robert Dumont moved to the area as a child. He was delighted when he was invited to the event.
"I had a terrific time out here," said Dumont, 75, who lives in Edmonton. "This is a wonderful old church. There are not too many of them around."
This year's Lac Ste. Anne Pilgrimage runs July 23 to July 28.
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