Tuesday, June 27, 2017

St. Henry's RC Church to celebrate 110th anniversary on July 15

St. Henry's Roman Catholic Church
Chris Davis with notes from Judy Lane - Twin Butte's St. Henry's Roman Catholic Church will be open to the public for a special celebration on Saturday July 15, 2017. The event will mark Canada's 150th birthday, the 110 year anniversary of St. Henry's, and the Feast Day of St. Henry. Mass will be held in the church at 3:00 pm with Father Roque from Lethbridge as celebrant. Following Mass, there will be a Blessing of the Cemetery as well as an opportunity for those in attendance to walk the outdoor Stations of the Cross or spend some time reflecting at the Grotto. After the spiritual activities, all will join in a potluck supper and reminisce about the days gone by. Special permission for the event has been granted by Bishop William McGrattan from the Diocese of Calgary, which owns St. Henry's. Everyone is welcome to attend. St. Henry's was dedicated in 1907 and served the surrounding community for 94 years, until 2001, when it was canonically suppressed (closed).

St. Henry's cemetery
The Historical Society of St. Henry’s contributes to the maintenance of the building and cemetery on an ongoing basis. The house next to the church was formerly the rectory but is now a private dwelling.

Grotto created by Bob and Nonee Bonertz

Stations of the Cross

Eagle sculpture outside the grotto by Bob Bonertz

Local parishioners Bob and Nonee Bonertz created the Stations of the Cross, the Grotto and the Crucifix. This year Bob created the sculpture of an eagle to acknowledge its importance to the indigenous people of the area and its majesty to all. With the help of many family and friends, these sculptures were put up on the church grounds and provide a peaceful chapel in God’s cathedral for prayer, reflection and meditation.  It's a wonderful spot for quiet contemplation.

Cross sculpture by Bob Bonerts

According to a History of St. Henry’s on the The Historical Society of St. Henry’s website, "The bulk of St. Henry’s first parishioners originated in Nebraska. The predominately German farming districts around St. Helena and Mennomine were becoming very crowded in the late 1800’s, and people were casting about for a new place to go and settle. John Schulte came back from Omaha with a fist full of pamphlets sent out by the Canadian government telling of the greatness of Alberta and of all the room and opportunities for settlers. Starting around 1901 Nebraska families began heading north to the Pincher Creek area."

Father Lacombe (photo courtesy Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village archives)
Organizational planning for a church began in 1904. "Father Lacombe, O.M.I., the venerable and famed missionary, came out in both 1904 and 1905 to look at the chosen location so he could report to Bishop Emile J. Legal, O.M.I. of the Diocese of St. Albert, and get official approval."

"The naming of the church seems to have been settled by Father Lacombe before the blessing. People had several ideas, including “Immaculate Conception”, but Father Lacombe insisted that it should be “St. Henry”. “He is a good German saint” was the way he put it."

Public restroom on the grounds

Read a more complete history of St. Henry's (excepted above) by clicking here.

Special Celebration on July 15, 2017

3 pm Mass
3.45 pm Blessing at the Cemetery
4 pm Stations of the Cross
5 pm Potluck dinner

All are welcome.

"The day will provide nourishment for both body and soul." - Judy Lane

Directions to St. Henry's from Pincher Creek

Take Highway 6 south from Pincher Creek towards Waterton Park for about 20 kilometres.  Turn left at Highway 505.  There’s a sign for St. Henry’s at this intersection.  There’s a second St. Henry’s sign on Highway 505 which will direct you to the building’s driveway.

GPS co-ordinates:   N 49 min.,19.167′ and W 113min., 46.290′

Sources/related links:
Judy Lane

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