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Authority record
Corporate body

Diocesan Pastoral Council

  • 100
  • Corporate body
  • 1969-1998

The Diocesan Pastoral Council was instituted in 1969 to involve lay persons in determining the priorities of the Diocese and its future direction. The first chair was Dr. Ray Whiteman, Director of Religious Education for Calgary Catholic Schools. It included laypersons from each parish and representatives from the clergy and women religious. Its purpose was to assist the Bishop in making decisions concerning the needs and development of the Church in southern Alberta, facilitate communication between Bishop and people of the diocese and to coordinate the activities of all the diocesan organizations. It became an important part of Diocesan decision-making although few parishioners understood or knew about the Council.
The Diocesan Synod recommended that the Council review its structure, role and effectiveness.
The ideal and the reality were necessarily at odds. Direct representation from all parish councils would have resulted in an impractically large meeting. Multi-parish councils were formed to elect a representative to Pastoral Council. This worked especially well in rural areas leading to a preponderance of rural representation on the Diocesan Pastoral Council. This problem of representation was ongoing.
Bishop Henry discontinued the Diocesan Pastoral Council in 1998.

St. Ann's Parish, Calgary

  • 20
  • Corporate body
  • 1910-

The need for St. Ann’s Church in Calgary arose out of the moving of St. Patrick’s chapel. St. Patrick’s was built on the east of the Elbow River 1883. The C.P.R train station was built to the west of the Elbow and this shifted the cities development to that area. Thus, St. Patrick’s chapel was moved to near the current location of St. Mary’s Cathedral in 1884 to be part of the growing city. Some Catholics though remained near St. Patrick’s previous location in the east. Due to the significant travel distance (to St. Patrick’s or Holy Cross) to mass each Sunday the Catholics in this area desired a new Chapel.

Thereby, in May 1908 Catholics in the area requested that they could have a Chapel closer to them in the east. For fifteen dollars a month a store (9th Avenue between 11th and 12th Street S.E) was rented out to serve as the Chapel for around forty people. The first mass was said by Rev. L. Culerier O.M.I (assistant at St. Mary’s Cathedral). Later Rev. J. Lestanc O.M.I. would also preside over mass for the Chapel. This location was not large enough for the resident’s needs. Mass was even held in Haskins Hall (9th Avenue between 12th and 13th Street S.E.) and in another store (9th Avenue and 12th Street S.E.).

At this point (1908) there were only around seven or eight families in the area using these make shift Churches. The residents requested to Bishop Legal on April 15 1909 for a proper Church to be created. They received permission to build a Chapel on 1500 8th Avenue S.E..
The Church’s name came from Father Lestanc who had been a mission priest at the small makeshift Chapels. He was devoted to St. Ann and he hoped that giving it such a name would encourage more vocations.

St. Ann’s opened for Mass on August 8, 1910. Father Jan and Father Nelz were officiating. The canonically erection was on December 16, 1910 and the Church was served by priests from St. Mary’s until December 1911. It was entrusted by Bishop Legal to the Priests of St. Mary’s of Tinchebray (who would serve from 1911-1916). Rev. L. Forget S.M.T. was the Churches first pastor and Rev. L. Anciaux S.M.T. was the assistance.

St. Ann’s first school opened in 1910 and was located over the Church’s vestry. Then they created a one room school and basement in the Church. By 1911 the needs of the population demanded that a larger four-room school (two rooms opening 1912 and the other two in 1918) was to be created (21st Avenue and 9th Street S.E.). This school was in an important and convenient location for the parishioners and they decided to move the St. Ann’s Church in 1913 to 8th Street and 21st Avenue S.E. In this new location the Church served Catholics from south and east from the Bow and Elbow River to Midnapore. This area was presided over until 1927 (when Holy Trinity mission was built) and more territory was lost in 1931 when Our Lady of Perpetual Help took charge of the Holy Trinity mission.

The Priests of St. Mary Tinchebray let in 1916 and then Rev. W.E. Cameron became the first secular priest for them. The priest’s first rectory was built in 1915 by the community and this building was later sold to the Precious Blood Sisters in 1951. At that time Rev. E.L. Doyle built a new rectory for the Priests.
In 1958 the community saw the creation of a new Church. This was built with the support of Msgr. Doyle and was blessed November 23rd by Bishop Carroll. The old Church building was then used as the parish hall until 1965 when a new one was created.

The population of the Church expanded to 200 families by the 1970s, but was decreased as the surrounding population aged (by 1999 there were 76 families). The Church kept a close tie with St. Ann’s school until 1984 when it became a Francophone Elementary, Junior High and High School. The Church had ties with Lithuanian Catholics and held Reconciliation and Mass for them yearly. Father F. Mongeau also celebrated mass for a First Nations population from 1992 to 1995. In 1995 the Spanish community of St. Mary’s Cathedral used the Parish hall and facilities of St. Ann’s (until St. Paul’s Church became theirs). From 1994-1996 Father Rolando Badiola served the Filipino communities monthly Mass from St. Ann’s. In 2000 St. Ann merged with St. Mary’s Cathedral. By 2002 the Korean congregation moved to St. Ann’s and the Parish became known as St. Ann’s Korean Parish.

Annual Bishop's Appeal

  • ABA
  • Corporate body
  • 1993-2010

Established by O’Byrne in 1993 to raise funds for Catholic Charities, the first campaign kicked off on February 21, 1993. The ‘ShareLife’ Committee had been preparing, planning and negotiating for months to get the Appeal going. The name was chosen after consultation with the Council of Priests. They wanted a name that originated with the Diocese and that ‘signi[ied] the Body of Christ active in a work of charity’. The first director was Richard Garnett. By Oct 19, 1992 the Annual Bishop’s Appeal had a name, logo, and a board of directors, including Fr. Burke Hoschka, Patrick Doherty (Chair), Richard Garnett and Fr. Ed Flanagan. It was registered as a charity on Jul 24, 1992.
The first theme of the ABA was ‘Love one another as I have loved you’.
[Letter from Bishop O’Byrne to Fr. Francis Van Tighem, RCDCA 30.923]

Administration of Ecclesiastical Temporalities

  • AET
  • Corporate body
  • 1972-

The Administration of Ecclesiastical Temporalities is currently delegated by the Bishop to the Executive Director. This office looks after the secular functions of the Diocese, including administration, finance, staffing, etc. In 1972 the Alberta Catholic Directory first lists a business accountant in the Bishop’s Office, Mr. E. Howard Smith. In 1979 Temporalities were overseen by a Business Manager, Mr. Joseph Comessotti and the two worked together until 1981 when Smith retired. In 1986 the ACD lists Comessotti as Business Manager and in charge of Revenue/Project Forward. In 1987 Financial Administrator, Rev. Robert Devine was appointed to replace Comessotti in looking after temporal affairs and Stewardship. In 1990 Rev. Devine began administering the Hospice of St. Jude as well as heading the Stewardship Program and Mr. Denis Doucet was hired as Business Manager. In 1991 Fr Pat Cramer became Vicar of Temporalities and Chairman of the Diocese Finance Council. In 1992 Dr. Marilyn Smelski headed the Stewardship Program and in the following year Colin MacIsaac became Finance Office, working with Doucet and Smelski. In 1995 the Annual Bishop’s Appeal took over some of the role of the Stewardship Program. It was headed by Richard Garnett.
In 1995 there was an overhaul of the Diocesan Temporalities, aided by Mr. Hugh MacKinnon of law firm Bennett Jones Verchere. Michael Patrick Chan became the Chief Operating Officer, and Lydia Ducharme, who became Financial Administrator. They were joined by Colin MacIsaac in a new role as chief Administrative Officer. The Annual Bishop’s Appeal was being run by Dr. Robert Gall. The reorganization was designed to streamline operations, enhance efficiency, provide a greater level of service for parishes, address the growing demands on the Diocese as a leader in civil society, encourage lay participation and unify Diocesan operations under the authority of the Bishop.
Under Bishop Henry the accounting office grew. Dennis Gruenwald took over the Annual Bishop’s Appeal and Miriam Dawidowski became Controller in the Accounting Office.

Diocesan Association for Senior Citizens

  • ASC
  • Corporate body
  • 1975-1979

In 1975 discussions began concerning the need for the diocese to provide homes for seniors. The committee that developed was formed under the Cathedral and was recognized by the Societies Act with a goal to develop accommodation for senior citizens. Al Bourque was nominated chair on Mar 18, 1976, Tom Casy as secretary.

Assembly of Women Religious, Diocese of Calgary

  • AWR
  • Corporate body
  • 1999-

In 1979 women religious in the Calgary Diocese were surveyed to see if there would be any interest in establishing a council in response to Bishop Paul J. O'Byrne’s call for collaboration. At the end of 1979 the data was compiled and sent to a steering committee comprising Sisters Joan Wigbers SP, Kathleen Kelly SSS, Salvator Falardeau OP, Lois Anne Bordowitz FCJ and Carla Montante SP. The sisters voted 71 to 3 in favour of forming a group to support a number of functions such as communication, social, sharing, support, ongoing formation and vocation awareness. (There were 6 don’t knows). Groups already existed in Calgary and Lethbridge. The fledgling Council for Religious held its first meeting, with 50 participants, at the FCJ Convent in Calgary in April 19, 1980, when the first executive was installed by Bishop Paul with Sr. Carla Montante as chairperson. The purpose of the Council for Religious of the Diocese of Calgary was to:

  1. Be a vehicle for communication in the Diocese
  2. Provide opportunities for religious to share their ministries
  3. Foster mutual support and growth by sponsoring workshops, days of prayer, socials, etc.

Bishop Paul saw the ‘Sisters’ Council’ as ‘the voice for Sisters in relationship to the apostolate of our Diocese, both to giving insights into what should be done and insights into what Sisters see as need within the Diocese’. He also felt that in 1985 this had not really been accomplished.

By 1987 the Council of Religious stated that it was ‘an organ of communication and a voice for all the religious of the Diocese. Its purpose statement explained that ‘religious of different orders and congregations live and work in the various parishes or other structures of a diocese. Religious are part of the diocese and belong within the diocesan structure. If the religious are to have a voice within the diocese, they must group themselves together and from their ranks form a Diocesan Council of Religious.’

Calgary Catholic Immigration Society

  • CIS
  • Corporate body
  • 1981-

Formed from the amalgamation of Calgary Immigrant Services and the Diocesan Immigration Services in 1981. It hired counselors and settlement workers and a team of volunteers to assist immigrants and refugees. It was committed to family reunification, advocacy and the creation of a climate of acceptance within the general public. Opened Cabrini House in 1980 as transition housing.

Council of Social Affairs

  • COSA
  • Corporate body
  • 1966-1998

Calgary was one of the first dioceses in Canada to respond to the call of the Vatican Council and establish a council of social affairs. In 1972 a CCCB resolution calling for the development of social justice offices and programs across the country was passed. Bishop Carroll invited Rev. Pat O’Byrne to become director in 1966. When Fr. Pat left late in 1979 Rev. Jack Bastigal succeeded as director.
In 1986 COSA’s role covers two broad areas, ‘first striving to create an awareness of the social justice gospel and the social teachings of the Church in parishes and schools, and second active involvement in the community through ecumenical work. Its focus was on maintaining a firm presence for the Church in many vital areas and working with community organizations to foster greater justice on a variety of issues.’ Areas identified include the Good Friday Way of the Cross, work with the Catholic Bible College of Canada in Canmore, work through the Social Justice Commission, school outreach, active involvement with CCODP Fall Action and Share Lent programs, and the Unemployment Committee.
COSA was also responsible for the Inter-Faith Thrift Stores and the Diocesan Communications Department. (see 159/3181).

Council of Priests

  • CP
  • Corporate body
  • 1992-2018

A new constitution of the Presbyteral Council of the RC Diocese of Calgary was signed by Bishop Paul O’Byrne and the Moderator and Vicar General, and chair of the Presbyteral Council V. Rev. John Schuster on May 11th, 1992 and revised on December 9th, 1997.
While the official name of the organization is the Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Calgary, it is known as the Council of Priests. Governed by the Code of Canon Law its express purpose is to ‘provide a forum for the full and free discussion of issues of pastoral concern in the Diocese,’ and to aid the Bishop in the governance of the Diocese, seek out means for more effective ministry and to ‘be representative of the unity of the priests as a whole.’

Although all priests of the Diocese are said to have an ‘active and passive voice’ there are three categories of members who attend meetings. They are:

  1. Ex officio members; priests who are Vicars General, Chancellor, Moderator, members of the College of Consultors.
  2. Those appointed by the Bishop (maximum of five).
  3. Those elected by the presbyterate. Although the Bishop appoints the Deans for each deanery or pastoral zone, who are the deanery representatives on the Council, the dean may, with the Bishop’s permission chose to relinquish his place to another elected priest.

Although the bishop is not a member of the Council of Priests he is the ex officio President of the Council. The chair is normally the Moderator and the members elect a vice-chair and also, if required, a treasurer. The executive secretary is responsible for taking and distributing the minutes etc.

There will be no less than eight monthly meetings per year

Quorum is 2/3 Council membership. The executive committee – President, chair, vice-chair, and executive secretary prepare the agenda. Standing committees may be designated by the council according to its needs.

The Council is only consultative by its nature. Decisions of the Council are normally reached by consensus but if that is not possible in the view of the presider then a majority vote will decide.

The Council may be dissolved by the bishop but only after consultation with the Metropolitan. The Council ceases to exist and its functions revert to the College of Consultors when the Episcopal See becomes vacant.

The Council of Priests produced a newsletter 1968 to 1970.

Dandelion Club

  • DDC
  • Corporate body
  • 1950-1959

The Dandelion Club and College was founded by Fr. Patrick (Pat) O’Byrne. He chose the name for this youth ministry programme. The dandelion is tenacious, sturdy, gregarious, and radiant and so was the ideal symbol for young Alberta Catholics who met each summer from 1948 in Claresholm, 1949 in High River, 1950 in Fort MacLeod and in the 1950s in Banff. A reunion was held to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Diocese of Calgary Nov 25-27, 1987, at the Banff School of the Fine Arts.

Ecumenical Taskforce for the Prevention of Family Violence

  • ETP
  • Corporate body
  • 1995-2005

This volunteer organization was the first one established by the three bishops of the Calgary Covenant, although it later included members from other churches. The earliest minutes extant are from a June 1995 meeting at the Catholic Pastoral Centre when Catholics Marie Cameron, Oswald MacLeod and Karine Rietjens met with Lutherans Sid Haughen and Janet Wagar and Anglicans Terrie Teare and Caitlin Odlozinski. The meeting focused on the publication of the Fire in the Rose program by the Church Council on Justice and Correction. In 1996 the three churches formed the inter-Church Task Force of Family Violence, with Marie Cameron as Chair, and launched the Fire in the Rose program in September 1996. The program aimed at counteracting and preventing physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual abuse in the family and the community. Social worker Cynthia Wild was hired as the program’s coordinator. In 2005 it was determined, and approved by the three founding bishops, that the Taskforce should become part of Faithlink.

Hanna, St. George

  • HSG
  • Corporate body
  • 1916-

Early homesteading settlers in the area around Hanna were occasionally served by the Tinchebray Fathers from Castor, forty-five miles north of the town of Hanna. May 3, 1910 marked the first visit by Father Lucien LeConte S.M.T who visited a parishioner in his home, to which many visits were made thereafter. Hanna’s church was begun in 1915 and officially offered Mass for the first time in June, 1916. The building was later blessed by Archbishop Emile Legal on June 29, 1917. Rev. A. Darvell, a Franciscan on temporary leave from England was the very first resident pastor, arriving in July, 1921. In the early years of the church and its Mass, many parishioners traveled great distances by means of horse and carriage. It has been noted that during the years of the Depression when both food and money were scarce, Mass was held in the basement to save heating costs and was only offered during Lent. These struggles among the parishioners during the Depression created a ‘special’ sense of a bonding community.

During the 1940s, the ladies of the Altar Society were often called on to help out in any way they could, particularly with church and community work, which furthered the common themes of working together in order to persevere. In 1946, resident pastor Fr. M.A. Harnett invited the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception to come to Hanna. The Sisters were a huge part of life in Hanna. They are rooted in the prophetic vision of St. Vincent de Paul who urged the need for a community of women who could reach out in compassion to all communities alike, with a special relationship to the poor and needy. They taught catechism and began directing the parish choirs, along with teaching music for all who wanted to learn, both inside and outside of the church community. The Sisters however, withdrew from Hanna and community in the early 1960s. This was in part due to post-World War II social developments inclusive of a more vigorous feminism and many women wishing to work for better employment opportunities and also in-part due to the declining numbers of religious in the surrounding communities all across the country.

In 1955 a new church had been erected for which Father Harnett managed to collect funds in his travels abroad in both Canada and the United States. The church was dedicated on September 1, 1956, by Archbishop MacDonald. The old church had been moved to Delia in July 1955, 36 kilometres away from Hanna, and has served there ever since.

The 1960s brought change in the form of geographical reconstructions. The Calgary Diocesan boundaries had been established before the Canadian Northern Railway was finished. As a result, Hanna, which is on the “Goose Lake Line” and on the highway from Calgary to Saskatoon, was not in the Calgary Diocese, although all its geographic connections were in that direction and it was only one-mile north of the Diocesan boundary. The railway curved north because of the conformation of the Hand Hills and a divisional point was established which became the town of Hanna in August, 1912. Hanna had no easy road or rail connections with Edmonton, and half of its potential parishioners lived in the Diocese of Calgary. Relocation of the Diocesan boundary was first broached in 1936 by Archbishop O’Leary of Edmonton, but for various reasons was not completed until June 7, 1965, after a delegation of parishioners from Hanna asked for the change. After 1965, when the borders of the Diocese were altered to embrace Hanna, St. George’s own boundaries themselves shifted several times. In 1965 the Calgary Diocese transferred responsibility for St. Timothy’s Mission at Sunnynook from Oyen to Hanna. In 1974, Hanna began serving Youngstown, 56 kilometres to the east. The mission was restored to Oyen in 1975, while St. George’s geographical borders were re-drawn again on 1980. Because of the vastness of the region for which Oyen was responsible, the Diocese was prompted to return Youngstown to the care of Hanna. At the same time, it gave Brooks the portion of St. George’s Parish south of Pockville.

Office of the Bishop

  • OOB
  • Corporate body
  • 1912-

The Office of the Bishop aids the Bishop of Calgary in the administration of the Diocese. Initially informally organized, prior to the Second Vatican Council the staff consisted of clergy. As the administrative needs of the Diocese grew due to the growing population and complexities of modern life, the Office of the Bishop required more staff with specific skills. The Office aids the Bishop in organizing meetings, correspondence, schedules, logistics, relationships, and records.

Religious Education Secretariat

  • RES
  • Corporate body
  • 1968-

This is the official agency of the diocese for coordinating all activities relating to the education in faith of all members of the diocese. It assists the bishop in his role as chief catechist of the diocese.
In 1985 it joined with the FCJ Christian Life Centre to institute the TEAM program (Together Enabling Adults for Ministry). The Synod recommended that the Office be expanded and that training be provided for spiritual directors.