On April 27, 1981, a Catholic School was opened on Midlake Boulevard. This was named Mother Teresa School (now St. Teresa of Calcutta School) in honour of Mother Teresa and her community who have devoted their lives working with the poor and outcasts of the world. She began in India, the country that gave Midnapore its name. With the opening of the Catholic School, St. Patrick’s parish-pioneers decided that this was where they should worship and the first 11am Mass was celebrated there on July 5, 1981.
Membership continued to increase at St. Patrick’s, so the next move was for the 9 a.m. Mass to commence in the School on March 7, 1982. Saturday Mass continued on in the Church. Not only St. Patrick’s was suffering growing pains. At this time Midlands United Church was in need of worship space for their new members. It was decided to rent the St. Patrick’s church to them for this purpose. They continued there until they too outgrew the church and moved into the gymnasium at the Elementary School. St. Paul’s Anglican Parish were having a problem with the increase in their congregation too, so they took over St. Patrick’s for their morning services and continued there until they had renovated their parish hall to accommodate the people. All Saints Lutheran also made use of the Church for services.
Plans for the sale of St. Patrick’s property did not materialize. However, under the guidance of Bishop, Paul O’Byrne, we were given permission to build a new church, aided by Diocesan Funds. At a general meeting of the congregation on January 13, 1982, Mr. Enrique Fernandez, an architect, presented blue prints and a model of the new church, which were approved by the parishioners present at the meeting. The sod was turned on August 31, 1982. First services in the new St. Patrick’s Church situated on Shawnessy Boulevard, were held on the Feast Of Pentecost, May 21/22, 1983.
Much of the church furnishing costs were aided by donations from parishioners. Social affairs, dances, a harvest supper, a walkathon and a raffle of the old rectory, purchased in 1976, kept providing funds. The tabernacle, a gift from the altar servers, was purchased from old St. Mary’s Church, Cochrane with money the servers raised from bottle drives and car washes. The Stations of the Cross came from an old Church in Scotland. The hand-chipped prism window of Christ the King came from the workshop of Andre Rault, Rhiems, France. Clay removed from excavations in Midnapore was used in the moulding of chalices, patens, candleholders, holy water fonts and large ornamental vases. The large “rose” window at the entrance of the Church was designed and constructed by Irene Scott, a parishioner. The stained glass windows at the back of the church tell the life story of St. Patrick, who converted pagan Ireland to Christianity. The money for this was raised by annual St. Patrick’s dances and by generous parishioners.
Dedication of the new Church by Bishop Paul O’Byrne was on Sunday, September 4, 1983, almost 79 years after the dedication date of the original St. Patrick’s Church, on September 11, 1904. Present for the Blessing were some people with direct links to the founding families: Mrs. Marshall, daughter of Patrick Glenn who donated the original land on which St. Patrick’s was first built, and Albert McKevitt who was present at the opening of “old” St. Patrick’s.
The parish was left with a debt of approximately $700,000 for the capital construction and cost of servicing the land the Church occupies. The Knights of Columbus – Father Albert Newman Council #8470 was instrumental in paying down much of the debt through fund raisers and bingos. First the mortgage was paid off and then the loan from the diocese was finally paid off in 1995.
“Buried” behind the consecration stone of the Church is a time capsule containing items of historical interest: Coins dating back to 1904 and to 1983; Old photographs of early families and members of St. Patrick’s; Old photographs of Midnapore and St. Patrick’s; A census of all known Catholic families in the parish as of August 1983; Photographs of the opening of the new Church on Pentecost Sunday, May 21/22, 1983; Photographs of the First Communion Class of 1983; A complete history of the diocese of Calgary; Newspaper articles about “old” and “new” St. Patrick’s; A videotape of the last Mass in old St. Patrick’s and one of the first Mass in the new Church and other memorabilia. It was proposed at that time that future generations may like to open the time capsule either on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the new church, or on the centenary of the old, Church.
In 1983 when St. Patrick’s was dedicated, parishioners looked across the street to wheat fields and a view of the mountains. Now, St. Patrick’s is no longer at the edge of the city. It continues to be one of the fastest growing parishes in the diocese. The continuous construction of new homes is filling the existing and new suburbs, with a resultant growth in the Catholic population, which needs to be served by the parish. A building fund has been established for an expansion of church facilities to provide more seating. St. Patrick’s is both an “old” parish, which is proud of its heritage and a “young” Spirit-filled parish with children in every pew. It is filled with memories of the past and hope for the challenging future.
©2019 St. Patrick Parish