Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 9, 2008
Franciscans celebrate 100 years in the West
Gala to fund formation for new friars
- WCR file photo 2006
Five of the eight new Franciscans who are giving new life to the religious order that is celebrating 100 years in Western Canada.
By WCR Staff
The Franciscan friars have been in the Edmonton area for 100 years and this October the local Catholic community will help them celebrate.
On April 11, 1908, five Franciscans arrived in Lamoureux, near Fort Saskatchewan, and soon after moved into Edmonton. In the city, they built St. Francis of Assisi Parish to serve immigrants who were arriving in the northeast part of the city.
The first Mass for the so-called Packing Plant Mission was celebrated Nov. 1, 1908.
The Franciscans soon established a friary near the parish church and opened St. Anthony's College. The college met the needs of many young men, especially those from rural areas, who wanted a Christian academic education.
On Oct. 3 this year, the feast of St. Francis, a fundraising dinner will be held to raise funds for the formation of Franciscans and to celebrate the first 100 years of the order's life and ministry in Western Canada.
The gala dinner will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. at the Northlands Agricom. Tickets are $250 each and are available from Sister Annata Brockman at 488-6321.
The Franciscans reached their peak numbers in Western Canada in 1964 when there were 113 friars.
Today, there are 47 professed Franciscans serving in four communities in the West - Edmonton, Cochrane, Victoria, and Lumsden, Sask. As well, friars serve in two parishes in Vancouver and one in Castlegar, B.C. Two are in Peru.
Eight friars are in various stages of commitment to full Franciscan life. The order estimates that at $20,000 per candidate per year, it will cost nearly $1 million to prepare all eight candidates over a six-year period.