SHAUNAVON, Sask. - Christ the King Roman Catholic Church in Shaunavon was built just 20 years ago and it still looks new, but its history goes back beyond 100 years.
The Catholic community of Shaunavon celebrated its first masses in 1907 when a priest from Gull Lake celebrated mass in the homes of the pioneers, much like the history of other churches in the province. That continued until 1914, when Rev. Terence Caraher was appointed pastor and a "basement church" was built for the still unnamed parish. That centennial milestone was marked Oct. 19 with a special mass celebrated by Regina Archbishop Daniel Bohan and concelebrated with pastor Rev. John Mock, followed by a reception and banquet that attracted more than 160 people.
A rectory was built in 1923 and the parish was named Christ the King. The area continued to grow and a new church was built in 1939 and served until the present church and rectory complex was opened in October 1994. The centennial and the 20th anniversary of the church were celebrated at the same service. The Sisters of St. Louis arrived in 1945 and opened St. Joseph School in the basement of the church. Twelve years later, 1956, the new school Christ the King was opened.
Christ the King Parish was part of the Regina archdiocese until 1930, when the Gravelbourg diocese was created. It reverted to the Regina archdiocese in 1998, when Gravelbourg was folded into the Regina archdiocese in a reorganization of Saskatchewan's Roman Catholic dioceses.
The archbishop's homily quoted Pope Francis' Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel, in which the pope calls for a change in the modern church to become a missionary church and parishioners to become evangelists. It is a theme the archbishop has used in most of his recent homilies.
"Our faith in Jesus Christ brings wonderful things to our lives. It gives us hope, meaning, security and freedom from fear, and happiness. We need to let that happiness show and when we do, we are evangelizers. When we deliberately let happiness show, we are being missionaries."
"Everybody was very happy," said Joeann Ruetz, chair of the centennial organizing committee. "It's quite an accomplishment to have 200 families when we started and 216 families now and we expect to grow because new families have moved into town."
Shaunavon's population is about 2,100. The centennial was also honoured with a papal blessing scroll which was presented to the parish community by Bohan.