Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 3, 2007
Rimbey parish celebrates 75th anniversary
Compiled by Alicia Ambrosio with files and photos contributed by Julie Frank at St. Margaret's Parish, Rimbey
Year founded: 1932
First Pastor: Father Joseph A. Murphy
First Church: The first "church" was a chapel inside St. Paul's Hospital. The pastor also lived at St. Paul's Hospital. The parish later moved to the "basement church." It was a poured concrete basement with a roof placed over it. The parish stayed there until 1964 when the current church was built.
Current Pastor: Father Victor Osita Eze
Current Church: Was designed by architect Eugene Olekshy and cost $53,000 to build. The church was completed in 1964 and blessed on Nov. 18 of the same year, in a pontifical Mass celebrated by Archbishop Anthony Jordan and other local pastors.
Worth noting: Considered a mission until 1932, Rimbey was first served by Father Van Wetten, a Belgian priest who served the area from Red Deer to Edmonton. He travelled by horse and buggy, carrying with him a portable altar, to bring the sacraments to the Catholic population. He was only able to reach the faithful two or three times a year and would celebrate the Mass in homes and lumber camps while staying with the families along the way. Today St. Margaret's serves Sylvan Lake, Bentley, Winfield and Buck Lake in addition to Rimbey.
Fond memories: Jim Tona, long time parish member, and charter member of the Knights of Columbus in Rimbey says, "What I recall the most is that whenever we were kinda' down and out, things weren't going too well for the parish, we brought it to the parishioners and they really responded. We've never been turned down."
Marie Olson, who was a parishioner before the current church was built in Rimbey, recalls, "We lived in Blufton, and there was no church in Blufton, so Father Harrison would come once a month to our homes and say Mass and baptize the new babies. He had no vehicle so he was dependent on the parishioners to drive him around."
Olson's family moved into Rimbey in 1944 and she has been a parishioner at St. Margaret's ever since. "All my children were baptized and had their First Communion and Confirmation at the Rimbey church. I have 14 children. Several were even married in the church," said Olson.
Celebration: St. Margaret's will have a special Mass at 11 a.m. on Sunday Dec. 3 followed by a luncheon. Two choirs will perform before and after the Mass.
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