St. Augustine Church 

5009 - 48 Ave, Taber, Alberta

 403.223.2226

 

St. Joseph Church

328 - 2nd Ave, Vauxhall, Alberta 

 

LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS

 

Weekend Masses

Saturdays:                    5:00 pm, Taber

Sundays:                       9:00 am, Taber

                                   11:00 am, Vauxhall

                                  

Weekdays

Tuesday:                       7:00 pm, Taber

Wednesday:          9:00 am, Clearview     Lodge

Thursday:                      9:00 am, Taber

Friday:                           9:00 am, Taber

1st Saturdays:              10:30 am, Linden View

 

Eucharistic Adoration

Friday 9:30 - 10:30 am

followed by Chaplet of Divine Mercy

 

Sacrament of Reconciliation

Tuesday 6:30 pm, Taber

Saturday 4:00 to 4:45 pm, Taber

 

Sacraments of Initiation

If interested in exploring the Catholic Faith or completing the Sacraments of Initiation as an adult or youth,  contact Parish Office at 403.223.2226.

 

Marriage

Couples registered within the parish are required to make arrangements at least six months prior to the date of marriage by calling 403.223.2226 and must complete a Marriage Preparation Program.

 

Sacrament of the Sick

If you know of any parishioner who is ill, at home, or in the hospital, please call 403.223.2226, so our Eucharistic Ministers of the Sick may bring communion, or anointing can be arranged.

 

Baptism

Infant baptism is celebrated following Completion of our parish Baptism Preparation Program.  New and expectant parents are invited to call 403.223.2226.

 

About Us

Welcome to the website of St. Augustine and St. Joseph Parish.  We are a Roman Catholic Faith community, serving Taber and Vauxhall, Alberta, Canada, that has both missions and evangelism at the heart of all we do.  The followings are the short of our history.

 

St. Augustine's Parish

 

In 1909 Taber had a population of 3,400 people made prosperous by the local mines. In 1908, Taber was visited by Father Bertrand O.M.I. of Medicine Hat. The first Mass that can be recalled was in 1909, held in an upstairs room of French Pete's restaurant which was located west of the Palace Hotel. When that room became too small, the congregation was allowed to use Cousin's Hall.

Because of the expanding coal mining industry, people from eastern Canada and Europe were settling in Taber. Father Karl Meyer O.M.I. was placed in charge of the congregation. On September 5, 1909 Father Meyer called a meeting of the parishioners to discuss building a church at the south end of Taber on six lots donated by Mr. Cousins. The church committee was composed of Misters Malo, Hosey, Zwiesler, Kithwork and Zulerick. Excavation began on October 28, 1909. On August 12, 1910 a contract was awarded to Mr. A. P. Viul for $1,785.00 for construction of a 26' x 40' wooden church. The ladies of the new-to-be church put on a supper and cleared $160.00, an outstanding amount of money in those days. A zealous promoter of the new church was Anastasia Pender who was also a local school teacher.

Succeeding Father Karl Meyer in 1911 was Father Bidault. Then in 1913 Father L. Van Tighem came to Taber. Bishop Legal recorded in 1913 a Catholic population of only 60. The mines had already failed and most of the population was gone. Father Van Tighem lived in a small "lean-to", two small rooms built onto the church by Frank Kerkhoff and Mr. Nudgent. Father Van Tighem died there alone in March, 1917. He was known for his artistic talents and his love of nature led him to plant trees and flowers as well as to experiment with the cultivation of fruit trees. Due to his influence and work, he showed the profit which could be made by irrigation.

Taber was transferred to the diocesan clergy in 1917 and became a mission of Bow Island with Father E. J. McCoy as pastor, staying until 1931. He was followed by Father Felix Kientz being resident priest until 1933.

Father Neville Anderson who succeeded him wrote of the parish:  Whatever large population and prosperity Taber had in 1909 was dissipated soon afterward. The coal mines failed, partly through bad management, I was told on arriving there in the fall of 1933, and partly through poor coal seams. By 1915 the mines were practically finished...The chancery reports 1925-33 for Taber Parish showed it at the bottom of the ladder financially among the parishes of the Diocese. For many years, until well after 1950, a vast pile of shale and a partly demolished mine tipple stood at the west end of the town as mute sign of what once had been.

Irrigation brought some new families to the land around Taber in the late 1920's and early 1930's. But when I went there as pastor in the fall of 1933 it still showed indications of a deserted village - open spaces with broken foundations from which the houses had been removed, mostly wooden sidewalks, only one bank. A core of good oldtimers remained - the Malo, Hosey, Pyne, Kerkhoff, McLellan, Bonetti and other families - and some fine European families newly settled on the land. The farming district increased and prospered and today Taber is a town of over 4,000 set in a thriving agricultural and garden area and beet-growing district.

My rectory was a one-roomed lean-to attached to the south side of the church, built on the ground, having no basement, cold in the winter and stiflingly warm in summer under the pitiless prairie sun, one room served as sacristy, living room, office, kitchen and a tiny curtained alcove as a bedroom, and outside plumbing!

But already there were signs of a resurrection. Irrigation was coming and with it immigrants from central Europe to work on the expanding beet fields. On my first Sunday there Mr. Don Malo, a long time business man in Taber, was prescient enough to say: "The people who are coming here to work the beet fields for the Mormon owners love the land. Already some of them have saved enough to acquire acreages of their own. Give them a few years and they will be big farmers around here. If you stay long enough you will have to build a separate school and get Sisters!"  He lived to see that day. Today Taber has Sisters of Providence and Brothers of Lourdes teaching some seven hundred children in Separate Schools. In 1933 it was poor and very insignificant.  I found that the early settlers who had remained in town and on the farms were good Catholics and that the new immigrants were also generally practising Catholics - very different from those I knew from pastors' accounts and a few brief periods of personal experience while relieving at Bellevue. Times in Taber were hard indeed; the depression held complete sway and there was little cash around. But everyone seemed to have lots to eat and, making their own fun, including teaching the inhabitants the mysteries of Contract Bridge. I found it gratifying in every way, even exciting, to be pastor of that place. This was also of the missions Retlaw, Enchant, Vauxhall, etc. as well as of Taber.

Father Neville Anderson was appointed pastor in about 1933 and stayed for almost a year. Then he was replaced by his brother, Father Arthur Anderson, who stayed in Taber until 1940. The Fathers Anderson were both well-liked and respected during their tenure.

On September 15, 1940 Father C. J. Lyons took over as parish priest and stayed for 29 years until March of 1969. In 1944 Father Lyons oversaw the formation of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary to provide spiritual guidance for adolescent girls. A year later he founded a branch of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). In 1947 the Sisters of Providence began teaching catechism classes in the parish and missions during school summer break.

Because of the rapid growth of the congregation Father Lyons started plans for a new and bigger church. In 1945 a site was purchased for the new church. With the generous support of the Taber and Retlaw Councils of the CWL, an amount of $13,771.00 was raised. Needless to say the whole congregation supported the building of the new church financially and physically. R. M. Guiness of Banff designed the plans. Father Lyons vision was that the plans be architecturally similar to our local grain elevators so as to embrace symbolically the surrounding community. Initially not much headway was made because of the war. Then in 1949 the contract was let to Larwill Construction of Calgary. On May 25, 1950 the new church was completed and Bishop Carroll attended for the celebration and Blessing. A rectory was added in 1954, followed by a set of bells, a marble altar and stained glass windows.

In 1956 St. Mary's Catholic School was built. The school was blessed by Bishop Carroll on December 16, 1956. Sisters of Providence were teaching in the school and required a residence; a convent was opened on December 20th to give the sisters a home. Over the next 14 years the convent was home to 22 sisters.

The Brothers of Lourdes began teaching at St. Mary's, a residence was built for them north of the church property. Their home and chapel was opened and blessed by Bishop Carroll under the title of St. Francis of Assisi on April 30, 1960.

St. Patrick's Catholic School was started in 1962 and opened in 1963, the students attending elementary classes there and then continuing on to St. Mary's for junior and senior high.

Several organizations were established to help all ages and gender participate in parish life and contribute their talents and help further and improve parish life. In the 1960's St. Augustine's Catholic Youth Council (CYC) was formed, the purpose was to promote a four-fold program of spiritual, cultural, social and physical activities.

Holy Name Society, an organization for the men in the parish, began in 1953 helping pay many of the parish expenses through fund-raising activities, but became dormant after 1965. The Knights of Columbus chartered in 1959 and continued helping finance parish, school and community projects. The ladies of the parish had always met and participated in helping with parish needs but officially became Catholic Womens League in 1928. The RCIA programme offered instruction to adults wishing to join the Catholic community. Other aids to the priest were incorporated such as liturgical ministries, music groups, visiting the sick, helping with the celebration of Mass at Clearview Lodge, altar care, seasonal decorating and probably many more that existed without recognition.

Over the years St. Augustine's Parish has had several missions attached to it. It's first mission communities were at Retlaw and Jamieson (Cranford). Father Lyons also went out to Barnwell and Kinniburgh to teach catechism. Cranford started as a mission in 1962, their church was St. Cyril and Methodius but this church was closed in December, 1978. Vauxhall became our mission in 1950 and was in need of a church building, therefore the old southside Catholic Church was moved there. The first Mass was celebrated on December 8, 1952 and the church was titled St. Joseph. They remained a mission of Taber until 1956. In 1959 St. Thomas Acquinas Church of Wrentham became our mission until April, 1968. In 1967 Assumption Church of Grassy Lake was also included until the church was closed in 2001. St. Augustine welcomed the congregation from Grassy Lake as part of our faith community. At the same time the Diocesan Planning Commission recommended Vauxhall be reinstated as a Taber mission. In early 2001 Taber and Vauxhall both requested to retain independent status, and so have formed twin parishes.

St. Augustine's Parish progressed under the guidance of Rev. Father Clarence J. Lyons for twenty-nine years. To provide services to the missions and chapels established during this time, Father John Weisgerber, Father J. Kramer, Father Frank VanTighem, Father S. Molnar, Father Charles McLellan and Father Leonard Hagel assisted Father Lyons.

In March, 1969 Father Lyons was appointed parish priest at St. John's Parish in Calgary, while Father Burke Hoschka took charge here in Taber with Father Eric Nelson as assistant and later Father John Lehmann. During this time a seminarian, Michael Storey came to Taber to assist during the summers of 1970 and 1971. In May of 1971 he was ordained a deacon and on May 12, 1973 he was ordained into the priesthood. Both ordinations took place in St. Augustine's Church. Around this time a major step in the involvement of the laity was the formation of the Parish Council.

Father Donald O'Dwyer was appointed parish priest in 1972. In May of 1974 a deacon, Tim Boyle was assigned to help the parish. Tim was ordained into the priesthood on October 12, 1974 at St. Augustine's Church. Father Tim was here until the summer of 1978 when he was moved to Calgary. Father Donald O'Dwyer was transferred from Taber in July, 1979. At that time Deacon Dan Stevenot came to our parish soon after Father John Schuster became pastor, his stay was short and in June of 1980 Father John Maes was assigned to St. Augustine's.

On September 5, 1980 Deacon Dan Stevenot was ordained into the priesthood at St. Patrick's Church in Medicine Hat; after his ordination he was transferred to St. Basil's Church in Lethbridge. Father Maurice McGreevy came to Taber in the fall of 1980 to assist Father Maes. Father Larry Bagnall returned from serving in Malawi missions and was appointed parish priest at St. Augustine's, arriving on March 14, 1984. During the summer of 1984 Deacon Seamus Mackrell served in our parish and from September, 1985 until June, 1986 seminarian Bill Doyle was in Taber. Father Larry was transferred from Taber in the summer of 1989 and replaced by Father Andres Corral, who served until August, 1994.

At that time Father David Meadows became our priest. Under his direction, St. Monica's Mothers Group was formed. This group gathered mothers together, usually twice monthly, to enrich their faith and the faith of their children. Grandmothers and other willing ladies assisted in providing childcare for their children. On March 8, 1997 a seminarian, Tito Ranola came to Taber to serve part of his internship, he assisted until July, 1997. On September 7, 1998 he was ordained a Deacon and a priest on February 5, 1999. Father Meadows stayed until July 31, 1998, when he was transferred to the position of parish priest at St. Mary's in Medicine Hat. Father Jaime de los Angeles was appointed our parish priest effective September 15, 1998. During August, Father Benedicto Marino resided with us temporarily until the arrival of Father Jim in September. To help foster ecumenical understanding and cooperation with Taber's larger church communities, Father Jim de los Angeles became an active member of the Taber Ministerial Association.

In the year 2000 our parish celebrated the "50th" Anniversary of our Church building. There was a beautiful celebration of the Mass with our congregation and many visiting priests and extended families. We filled the Civic Center with a huge banquet, a fun program followed and a History Souvenir Booklet was published. "Fifty Years"... a great tribute to the parishioners both with us and deceased and all the dedicated priests that shared with us.

The year 2000 was a blessed and gifted year for us as Michael Whalen, a long time parishioner was ordained a Permanent Deacon in June of that year. We pray that Mike and Yvette enjoy many happy and faithful years serving God and His people.

In 2003 after Father Jim's transfer, Father Mariusz Sztuk became our Parish Priest, he remained until 2009 and was assisted by seminarian Nathan Siray. Father Patrick Furtado joins us to be our present Parish Priest. We thank God for all the wonderful and inspiring priests that have served in our parish and helped us enrich our faith and become closer to our Lord. We pray that they have fulfilling and blessed years ahead of them.


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