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Prayer and Vigil Service

Marking The Closure of

St. Patrick's Church

July 31, 2011

Approximately 400 were in attendance for the final mass at St. Patrick's Church before it was closed. Following Mass, there was a short break, followed by a Prayer Service attended by about 200 persons. The program was a dignified and beautiful tribute to the church that has provided continuous service and spiritual comfort to parishioners in the Lethbridge area for 124 years.

The program included the saying of the Rosary, singing of hymns, Bible readings (Isaiah 55 1-11; 2 Corinthians 4, 7-15; Matthew 11, 28-30) Prayers of the Faithful; The Prayer of St. Patrick; individual Prayer Petitions which were placed before the altar, and a final goodbye from SOCA Chair, Barb MacLean. A program containing the outline of events for the evening and including a history of St. Patrick's Church in Lethbridge was given to each family in attendance. The choir never sounded as beautiful as it did that evening.

We had good media coverage of the day with Global coming at the 11 am Mass as well as for the Candlelight Vigil. CFCN Calgary and Lethbridge both aired segments on the church closure and the Calgary Herald carried an article in its August 2 edition. (see Links page to access)

Thanks to all who contributed to this event and for all those who joined us in commemoration.

Below are the words presented by Barb MacLean in her tribute to St. Patrick's. You may have to turn up the volume on your computer to hear clearly. 

St. Patrick's Church
Celebrates 100 Years

 

August 25, 2013

A sold out event of 450 people celebrated St. Patrick's centennial held at the Lethbridge Lodge Hotel.  Parishioners from all over Southern Alberta attended. The Commemorative Booklet featured a painting by Karen Brownlee on the cover and historical information on St. Patrick's Church. The evening's program ended with a wonderful 35-minute DVD presentation created by Grant Alger on the history of St. Pat's and featuring several parishioners recounting their experiences of St. Patrick's Church.

 

It was a joyful evening very much like a family reunion especially as many there had not seen much of each other since St. Patrick's Church was shuttered two years ago. Memories were shared and many expressed hope that St. Patrick's would soon be reopened.

 

Largely because of the generosity of 11 patrons, when all the bills were paid there was a balance of almost $4,000. The Committee decided that $2,000 would be donated to the Oblate Missions worldwide in recognition of the role the Oblates played for over 100 years in Lethbridge and area. The remainder of the balance (approximately $2,000) will be donated to the Lethbridge branch of the St. Vincent de Paul Society for their work with the poor and needy.

The Friends of St. Patrick Committee was to be responsible for organizing the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of St. Patrick's Church. We thank all those who attended the celebration and all those who helped in any way to make the evening a success. Its task completed, the Friends of St. Patrick's Church is now formally dissolved.

Francis Noronha, Secretary

Those attending the dinner were asked to share their favorite memories of St Patrick's Church on cards that were placed on the tables. 

 

The following link shares those memories as recounted by those present and helps to explain why St. Patrick's Church pulls so strongly on people's hearts.

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Bishop Henry issues Decree
Officially Closing
St. Patrick's Church

October 1, 2016

Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary issued an Official Decree on, October 1, 2016, notifying the parishioners of All Saints Parish that St. Patrick's Church would be permanently closed on January 1, 2017. Formal notice from the Bishop must be given to parishioners before a church can be permanently closed. Even though St. Patrick's has technically been closed for over 5 years now, this Decree makes it official and forever. Once closed St. Patrick's can no longer be used for divine worship. The Decree opens with the following statement

"Due to the lack of the necessary requirements of the modern parishes along with inadequate buildings and insufficient clergy, consideration must be given as to whether sufficient grave causes exist for the relegation of St. Patrick's church to profane, but not sordid use."

Bishop Henry goes on to outline the "grave causes" which he sees as necessitating this action. There may be some confusion on what is meant by "profane, but not sordid use". You may substitute "profane" with "secular". "Not sordid use" means that the church cannot be sold to someone who may use it for sacrilegious or immoral purposes.

Bishop Henry goes on the state that a new church will be built and that the three existing churches of All Saints Parish, (Our Lady of the Assumption, St. Basil's and St. Patrick's) will be sold.

A copy of the Decree is HERE for your review

Vatican's Highest Court Agrees
To Hear Our Appeal

February 28, 2018

In a letter dated, February 28, 2018, the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican's highest court, has accepted our appeal which was submitted on July 13, 2017. Francis Noronha, Procurator for 525 parishioners of All Saints Parish in Lethbridge, submitted a recourse (appeal) of the March 14, 2017 decision of the Congregation For The Clergy, which supported the Pastor of All Saints and the Bishop of Calgary's decision to close St. Patrick's Church in order to build a new mega church in South East Lethbridge. In support of their ruling, the Congregation stated that the our parish pastor conducted wide consultation of his parishioners in this decision. The Congregation went on to say that the decision to build a new church had the broad support of its parishioners. Our appeal to the Apostolic Signatura will challenge both these assertions and will argue that the closure of St. Patrick's Church was in contravention of Canon Law.

The process of appeal to the Apostolic Signatura takes a different course than that followed by the Congregation For The Clergy which ruled on the basis of written evidence only. This hearing will be heard in Rome with arguments and submissions made by lawyers for the Congregation For The Clergy/Bishop of Calgary and the Save Our Churches Association. SOCA will be ably represented by two Canon Lawyers, AVV Andrea Errera and AVV Federica Boldrini.

News From Our
Vatican Lawyers

 

February  20, 2021

AVV Andrea Errera

AVV Federica Boldrini

Dear SOCA Members and friends:

(3,477 days i.e. 9 years 6 months, and 20 days of the closure of St. Patrick's Church)

 

At last, some news to report from the Vatican! Our lawyers in Rome have sent us a document from the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura naming the Panel that will decide our appeal against the closure of St. Patrick's Church and the subsequent issuance in 2017 of a Decree reducing St. Patrick's Church to secular but not profane use. They are Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke and Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, and Canon Law experts Archbishop Frans Daneels and Archbishop Fillippo Iannone. Cardinal Versaldi will present the case to the others and will write the decision. They will meet and decide the case on March 12, 2021.

 

Your SOCA Executive is grateful for all your support along our long journey of 3,477 days, over 9 years. We have one more request at this critical stage: From now until March 12, please make a point of praying each day that on March 12 the distinguished panel will reach a just decision. It does not have to be a long prayer but please make your prayer daily as often as you can during the day. It can be as simple as "Dear Lord, I pray that a just decision will be made by the Supreme Panel deciding the fate of St. Patrick's Church."

 

Then, on March 11th, we ask you to join us in virtual prayer by reciting the Rosary, asking our Lady of the Rosary to intercede for us that a just decision is reached the following day by the Panel meeting in the Vatican. 

 

God Bless,

 

Francis Noronha

Happy St. Patrick's Day

March 17, 2021

A great day for St. Patrick's Church as Rome's highest appellate court ruled in favor of our appeal to reopen St. Patrick's Church. 

 

The Apostolic Signatura, (the Supreme Court of the Vatican) led by Cardinal Raymond Burke, Cardinal Versaldi, and  Archbishops Daneels and Iannone, ruled in our favor that the decision to close St. Patrick's was in contravention of Church Canon Law. They made the point of ruling that this was not just a procedural error, but the decision itself was wrong.  We have yet to receive a copy of the judgment and do not know what requirements will govern the reopening of St. Patrick's.  St Patrick's Church was "shuttered" on August 1, 2001.

 

A huge debt of gratitude is extended to the SOCA's loyal supporters over the years; to Philip Gray and the Saint Joseph Foundation of Hopedale, Ohio for guiding us through the long and complicated appeal process; to our Rome lawyers who successfully argued our case though it's multiple stages for 3 years and to the SOCA executive for their skill, perseverance and courage.

 

We could have never dreamed of this day without the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of our Holy Mother, Mary, and our patron saint, Saint Patrick who gave us hope.

 

God Bless you,

Saint Patrick keep you.

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