May 2, 2016

The miracle stories of the Gospels tell about what the risen Jesus does for those who believe in him. What happened recently in the parish communities of St. Theresa and Corpus Christi is a continuation of the missions left with us by Christ's death and resurrection.

Fathers Bill Irwin and Don MacDonald were compliant missionaries - teaching, catechizing in community halls and school gymnasiums in Mill Woods, a new part of Edmonton. Their work continued with timely leadership from Fathers John McNeil and Don Stein for the building of the parish community and St. Theresa's Church.

At that time, the oil and gas industry was developing, and the arrival of people brought on new communities and young families with mortgages and with limited finances.

The Edmonton Archdiocese was taking on the dimensions of a big city. The history of the Catholic community was changing. The parish of St. Theresa came to life with lay leadership and Father Duncan MacDonnell from the neighbouring parish of Immaculate Heart.

St. Charles Parish was founded with leadership from St. Edmund and St. Angela parishes. St. Agnes Parish had lay people and clergy reach out to found the present St. Thomas More community. OLPH in Sherwood Park had its beginning from St. Anthony on Whyte Avenue when Father Ken Kearns and Bert O'Brien reached out to what was, at the time, a rural community.

So it was for St. Albert Parish and Holy Family community in St. Albert as well as Sacred Heart and St. Mary's in Red Deer.

Today, many say we cannot form new parishes; there are no priests. Well, there was a shortage of priests in those days.

This leads me to 2016 and the present and future needs of our archdiocese. There were many miracles and blessings in my time. In my early years, there was continuous support for our parish communities in our rural areas. At present, the faith communities in Camrose and Lacombe are planning and financing new worship and social space.

The old model of neighbour communities reaching out has been our history. After the construction of the past 50 years, there have been many miracles and blessings, which needed continuous support. Our subdivisions are alive with young families, happy and willing to celebrate the good news of hope.

Fr. Leo Floyd
Edmonton