REGINA — ”It was just a good time to celebrate the success of the parish,” said Rev. Danilo Rafael, former pastor of Holy Child Parish in Regina’s Glencairn neighbourhood, when he was asked about celebrating a 40th anniversary. Danilo was pastor of Holy Child for six years before he moved to Holy Rosary Cathedral Aug. 1 with the yearly shuffle of diocesan priests.
His leaving the parish had nothing to do with deciding to celebrate the 40th anniversary. “Some people celebrate a 10th or 25th or 50th,” said Father Dan, as he is known. “We decided on a 40th.” Invitations were sent out and Archbishop Donald Bolen was invited to celebrate the anniversary mass. Several former pastors also attended, including Rev. Norman Marcotte who, although retired, regularly helps out at Holy Child.
Bolen, in his homily, spoke about Holy Child being named after the Incarnate Jesus coming to earth as a child. “Holy Child is a welcoming parish,” said Bolen, referring to its welcoming of refugee families and the fact that it has become the “go-to” parish for seminarians performing their year of internship. Several Regina priests now serving in the archdiocese did their internship at Holy Child, including Bolen. The archbishop said Holy Child parishioners have a strong reputation of co-operating and working together, which is encouraging for seminarians.
Seminarian Ricardo Escalante, now serving his internship at Holy Child, is originally from Trinidad, where he worked as a lawyer. When he came to Canada he worked as a paralegal in Vancouver before following his call to the priesthood. Rather than attend the seminary in Vancouver, though, he wanted to study in Rome, and while there he was introduced to the late Archbishop Daniel Bohan. The archbishop was impressed and asked him to come to Regina as a seminarian. He is still completing a doctoral thesis from the Angelicum University in Rome and, if all goes well, could be ordained to the transitional diaconate in June. On Sept. 17 he was officially accepted as a candidate for holy orders.
The anniversary mass was also the occasion to induct Rev. Brian Meredith as the new pastor. As part of the induction ceremony, Bolen escorted Meredith to locations in the church — the baptismal font, the holy oils, the confessional, the ambo, the altar — and finally the presider’s chair next to the altar. At each location, the archbishop asked if he would faithfully serve the parishioners in his duty as pastor. Meredith responded each time, “With the help of God, I will.”
The congregation, too, was asked at each location if they agreed to support Meredith, and they responded, “With the help of God, we will.”
After the mass and induction ceremony, the celebration moved to the hall for a banquet prepared by Holy Child parishioners. The program featured a reading of letters and emails from former pastors and parishioners remembering their time at Holy Child.