— Bishop Donald Bolen blesses the ambo at St. Philippe Neri Parish
in Vonda during a rededication of the church after a recent expansion
and renovation project. (Yaworski photo)
Philippe Neri expansion rededicated
Kiply Lukan Yaworski
VONDA, Sask. — The
faith community of St. Philippe Neri Parish in Vonda recently celebrated
the completion of an expansion that has made the 86-year-old church
more accessible, with the installation of an elevator, an enlarged welcoming
area and a renovated stage and meeting area in the basement hall.
Bishop Donald Bolen joined
pastor Rev. Marc Mireau in a celebration Oct. 23 to bless the addition
and rededicate the church, with prayers of blessing at the baptismal
font, the ambo and the altar.
Parish life director Louise Bussière described the history of
the parish and of the
church building. “It was with gratitude to these pioneers and
to God the Father that we undertook this project to make this church
accessible and welcoming to all who come here to worship,” she
“Today is a day of
thanksgiving and a day of remembering,” said Bolen in his homily.
“It is important to remember all that your ancestors here did
to build up the faith, all that they did to establish close communities,
all that they did to foster a spirit of love and compassion” living
out the call to love their neighbour in this place, Bolen said.
“We also remember God’s faithfulness through all of this,”
he added, reflecting on Christ’s exhortation in the Gospel to
love God “with all your heart, and with all your soul and with
all your mind.” That is exactly how God loves us, Bolen pointed
“God created us, fashioned us, has walked with us, has shown us
a love that is both great and wide, deep and strong.” Our love
is shown by entering into a relationship with God, by loving all that
he has created, and by loving those that he places in our lives, “especially
those in greatest need.”
During the rededication celebration, the assembly sang the litany of
saints, including the names of St. Maria Goretti and St. Eugene de Mazenod,
whose relics are encased in the altar of the church.
The bishop walked through the church, praying over the baptismal font,
the ambo and the alter. At the conclusion of mass, he also blessed a
plaque to be placed in the parish cemetery, listing the names of all
who are buried there, as well as going outside to bless the cemetery.
Parish life director Bernard Hamoline expressed appreciation to all
who made the expansion project possible, by donations, labour and their
faith in God.
In addition to the rededication of the building, the community also
will strive to “rededicate ourselves to loving each other in spite
of our differences, in spite of our misunderstandings, in spite of our
struggles,” Hamoline said.
“This is a once in a lifetime extraordinary event, and this accessibility
project is a sign and a symbol of something deeper.”