With an eye to the future, Our Lady of the Rockies Roman Catholic Parish held an outdoor mass and groundbreaking at its new church site, located at 2 Silvertip Trail, Sunday (June 25).
The new 18,319 square foot church will offer seating for 422 with provision for future expansion of an additional 128 seats in the church and 30 seats in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel with the parish planning to move into it in the spring of 2018.
The project was first unveiled in 2015 with an original cost of $9.2 million attached and a plan to build in stages. Upon completion the of the project, the parish realized the original project would run to $17.5 million, due to a geotechnical report stating the cost of the foundation would run higher than first expected.
“We are tremendously blessed that we have people here in Canmore who built a proper home to God, so that we can celebrate the holy sacrifice of mass regularly, and are currently blessed to have the church we currently have at 810 – Seventh St. in Canmore,” said Father Wilbert Chin Jon.
“I was told that the miners would go to work and, as soon as they were done work, they would get to the site and start building the church until it became dark and then call it a day.
“The church we have now, I believe, was built in six months in the 1960s with all the work of the miners and the leadership of the priest.”
Jon added the parish is now embarking on the community’s third Catholic church and pointed out it is not just a community church built for the parish, but built for God to lift hearts.
“This is our time, and people in the future will say, ‘those people in the 2000s built this church,’ and hopefully they’ll review our church well … but we don’t need to be honoured by them because we are building this for God,” said Jon.
To compensate for cost reduction, the property design was reduced by close to 45 per cent, which still left the integrity of the original design, and still fulfil current needs, with the ability to expand into the future.
The parish hall was reconfigured to add height and width for an encompassing view of the local mountain landscape, which will include Three Sisters, Mt. Lawrence Grassi, the peaks of Ha Ling, Goat Range and Mt. Rundle.