Related Article: More than a century of faith in Allan, SK
By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News
Established in the early days of the 20th century, St. Aloysius Parish in Allan, SK, gathered with then-Prince Albert Bishop Joseph Prud’homme for the official blessing of their church building on June 21, 1923, the feast day of their patron saint, St. Aloysius Gonzaga.
One hundred years later, St. Aloysius parishioners past and present gathered with Saskatoon Bishop Mark Hagemoen, pastor Fr. Andrej (Andrew) Wychucki and Fr. Joseph Jacek, OMI, on June 25, 2023, to mark 100 years of faith, witness and service.
The centennial of the church building is an opportunity to celebrate the faith and commitment of those who founded the parish and built the church as a “community of vision and hope,” said Bishop Hagemoen in his homily.
The milestone is also a timely call to look ahead to the next 100 years, and consider how the parish can continue to be a beacon of faith and hope in the future, the bishop added, pointing to the words of the Sunday gospel which begins with Jesus Christ saying “Fear no one.”
“There is a lot of fear out there,” Hagemoen said, but in spite of difficulties and sin, the God of the universe “wills to bless and save us.”
“The next 100 years, God wants to work in you, to continue to have the mind and heart of Jesus Christ,” he said, in particular addressing the youth and noting: “you stand on the shoulders of giants,” including parents, grandparents and other community members. “They bring a memory and a heart and a spirit and a hope that we must build on.”
“The Holy Spirit is alive and well,” the bishop noted. “What God needs from us is faithfulness… Let us not give up hope.”
Bishop Hagemoen homily:
At the centennial Mass June 25, 2023, parishioner Bob Boehn proclaimed the First Reading, Anne Moldenhauer led the Psalm, Marie Grumetza proclaimed the Second Reading, Ken Moldenhauer sang the Gospel Acclamation and Kathy Pasternak led the Prayer of the Faithful.
Fr. Joseph Jacek, OMI, who was born and raised in the area — and served at St. Aloysius Parish for a time — proclaimed the Gospel.
Originally served by the Oblates, in recent years pastors have included diocesan priests and international missionary clergy.
Originally from Poland, St. Aloysius pastor Fr. Andrzej (Andrew) Wychucki was ordained 25 years ago in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon. He has been the pastor of parishes at Allan, Colonsay, and Viscount since August 2021, in addition to serving as hospital chaplain. As of August 2023, he will serve as associate pastor of St. Paul Co-Cathedral in Saskatoon, and diocesan priest Fr. Gregory Smith-Windsor will be the new pastor of parishes at Allan, Colonsay and Viscount.
Following the centennial Mass, Parish Pastoral Council Chair Ken Moldenhauer delivered thanks to all in attendance, and read a message from former pastor Fr. Michel Bedard, now retired in Saskatoon.
“Some 20 years have passed since my departure from the parishes of Allan, Blucher, and Colonsay,” wrote Fr. Bedard. “We did much important work together for parish and community. I remember lighting the church steeples on Saturday evenings for two short hours letting you all know I was available at the confessional if you so needed.” Bedard continued: “Time passes quickly – that is why it is important to use it wisely. The church building is a reminder of the many sacrifices made by your ancestors. Be filled with gratitude and pray each day for them. My prayers are with you today and always.”
Ken Moldenhauer also shared information about a fund-raising project to repair St. Aloysius Church’s windows (donations labelled “Church window project” can be sent to St. Aloysius Church, Box 220, Allan, SK S0K 0C0 or e-transferred to email@example.com).
The celebration continued with a brunch provided by the parish Knights of Columbus council in the nearby Allan Parkland Community Hall. A number of historical photographs and documents were on display at the hall, and during the meal a group of parishioners presented a song about the priests who have served the parish over the past 100 years.
A short history of the parish was included in the bulletin:
The first Catholic settlers arrived in the district of Allan in the early part of 1903. All came from German-speaking colonies in Russia, either directly, or from the United States. They were immediately contacted by Missionary Oblate priests residing in Saskatoon
By 1906, the first Catholic Church named St. Aloysius was built southwest of the present town of Allan. In 1910, that church building was moved into town, and in 1914, Bishop Pascal issued documents officially creating St. Aloysius Parish of Allan. Plans to build the current church began in 1914. The basement was built in 1915, and a temporary roof was added. Church services ere held in the basement chapel from August 1915 until October 1922. During those years, the former church building was converted into the first parish hall.
In November 1921, blueprints and estimated costs of $35, 000 to complete building the current church were approved. Construction started in 1922. The cornerstone was blessed by Prince Albert Bishop Joseph Prud’homme on Sept 3, 1922, and the first Mass was celebrated in the newly-completed church on Oct. 12, 1922. The church building was officially blessed by Bishop Prud’homme on St. Aloysius’ Feast Day June 21, 1923.
SOURCE: Times Past to Present p 91-96
Kiply Lukan Yaworski is the communications coordinator for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon – rcdos.ca