Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 8, 2008
Personal pledges, parishioners’ generosity built original church
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"He (Fr. Graydon Harrison) genuflected before the altar and we could see his sock or bare foot through the holes in his shoes."
- Madge Graham
The little church - 24 x 50 feet - had 20 pews that rented for $10 a year for a full pew and $5 a year for half a pew.
Heat was provided by a coal and wood stove that stood to the side at the front of the church. That stove would erupt occasionally and shower the faithful with soot and ashes.
Father Van Wetten celebrated the first Mass in the new church some time in 1908. Henry Cottman and Hazel Gartner were the first couple to be married in the church on Feb. 17, 1909.
Father Hippolyte Leduc blessed the church May 16, 1909, while Bishop Legal celebrated the first Confirmation July 27 of that year.
Ponoka parish was canonically registered Feb. 1, 1914 and St. Augustine of Canterbury was declared its patron saint.
In 1949, Father Graydon Harrison, who served from 1921 to 1956, formed a building committee, and, with help of parish members, built the present church, which opened in 1950.
Harrison is remembered as a priest who was generous to a fault, giving all he possessed to the poor.
Madge Graham of the mission of Chesterwold wrote:
"Our hearts ached many times as he genuflected before the altar and we could see his sock or bare foot through the holes in his shoes."
A total of 16 priests have served at St. Augustine since 1903.
The current pastor is Father Krzysztof Sobani, who replaced Father Jim Corrigan during the summer.
He serves from Lacombe.
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