Vancouver, Canada: A Redemptorist parish celebrates its 100 anniversary

Fr Charles Duval, Provincial Superior of the Redemptorists of Canada, says a prayer at the St Alphonsus de Liguori icon.

Celebrating 100 Years of God’s Delights

With gratitude and thanksgiving to all the Redemptorists who came before us, as well as all parishioners past and present, 2023 marks the Centennial of the Redemptorists’ arrival in Vancouver and founding of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish. St Alphonsus Liguori, founder of the Redemptorists, in his Ascetical Works reflects on a passage from the Book of Proverbs 8.31 where it is written, “My delights are to be with the children of men” and responds with the inspired words that speaks to us all: “Since His delights are to be with you, let yours be found in Him.”

With this theme, an assurance of God’s loving presence, we celebrate the Centennial of the Redemptorists’ arrival in Vancouver under the patronage of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. It has been the mission of the Redemptorists to make our Blessed Mother known to all. With the Redemptorists shepherding the parish, it will continue to collaborate in this work, as it grows and journeys together in love and holiness as a happy, close-knit parish community.

Gratitude, excitement and jubilation. These were the collective sentiments shared at Our Lady’s Centennial Inaugural Mass and dinner on Saturday, January 21. Visiting from Toronto was Fr Charles Duval, Provincial Superior of the Redemptorists of Canada, the main celebrant of the evening, with Fr Alfredo and I concelebrating. Due to pandemic restrictions, Fr Charles, unable to visit us in the past two years, was thrilled to be back on such an auspicious occasion. A new Icon of St. Alphonsus was unveiled and blessed during the Mass. And for this occasion, the Gr 7 class at OLPH School wrote a “Centennial Prayer”, which the congregation recited at the end of the Mass. The jubilee song “You are My God”, also composed for this Centennial, was exultantly sung by the choir. Both pieces featured hereafter will be said and sung at every Mass until the Feast of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. The event was attended by almost 400 parishioners, especially those octogenarians who have been with the parish the longest. All were feted with an Italian buffet and live performances from the talented youth in the parish community.

By Fr. Babu Mathew, C.Ss.R.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish was established by the Redemptorists in 1923. On Ash Wednesday, 1923, Redemptorist Father John F Coghlan arrived to initiate Vancouver’s Parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The first Redemptorist community in Vancouver was established after two more priests came.

The original church was a modest structure organised in the abandoned premises of a store. Two years later, supported by many prayers and sheer hard work, the building of the new parish church dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help was completed. Soon after, the OLPH School opened its doors.

The jubilee celebrations that started on January 21 continue through the next months with various events and will culminate with the Centennial Celebration & Feast Day on June 25 with Mass and thanksgiving dinner.

Courtesy: Community Connections, vol. 22, issue 3, March 2023.

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