Our Lady of Peace attracting parishioners
By Frank Flegel
REGINA — Once there were three and now there is one working hard to attract new parishioners.
Good Samaritan Parish was established in 1968; Canadian Martyrs was added to the parish priest’s care in 1990 and nine years later, 1999, St. Charles was added and it became a tri-parish unit with the main office at Good Sam, as it was always called.
More changes came after the turn of the century and St. Charles was closed and sold in 2012/13 and Canadian Martyrs held its last mass in early July 2014. Good Samaritan, too, ceased to exist as a parish, but was resurrected as Our Lady of Peace July 1, 2014 and thus, three became one. Signs were changed and painted blue along with all the doors, railings and planters, the traditional colour of the Blessed Virgin.
The changes came about because of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan to make parishes spiritually and financially more viable. While St. Charles was sold, the future of Canadian Martyrs is being debated. Several archdiocesan groups have expressed an interest in using the church as a gathering/meeting place.
The process of change was difficult and hard to accept for some Canadian Martyrs and Good Samaritan parishioners, so Our Lady of Peace added mass times and created activities to attract new people to build on their current population.
One of the more popular activities is the monthly Country Gospel and Old Favourites performance by Free Spirit & Friends. “We get about 300 people who come from all over the city,” said Ebere Nwadike, parish secretary.
The seniors group of the parish also added Forever in Motion and a Yoga class to their existing Tai Chi and Zumba exercise classes and, in anticipation of an addition to the building to accommodate more worshippers, started making and selling perogies as a fundraiser to help finance any addition. The parish is also starting a new youth ministry.
Anita Rieger, pastoral council secretary, said a good portion of Canadian Martyrs parishioners are attending Our Lady of Peace, but neither she nor Nwadike had any numbers. But the activity increases have been noticed. “Our United Church friend cross the street told me, ‘For years that parking lot was empty. Now, daily that lot is never empty,’ ” said Rieger.
Our Lady of Peace now holds three weekend masses; Saturday at 5 p.m., Sunday at 9 and 10:30 a.m. and a Monday-Friday mass at 9 a.m. The 5 p.m. Saturday mass was added after St. Charles closed and the 9 a.m. Sunday mass was added after masses at Canadian Martyrs were ended.
“The chalice from St. Charles is used at the 5 o:clock mass, the chalice from Canadian Martyrs is used at 9 o:clock Sunday mass, because those vessels are familiar to people from those former parishes,” said Rieger.