In February of 2013 a group of St. Albert Parish parishioners met with Father Andrzej and members of Parish Pastoral Council to explore the founding of a new ministry within the parish.  This new ministry, to be called Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation would be an umbrella group for all of the other parish ministries with a special interest in helping the poor:  Social Justice, Development and Peace, St. Vincent de Paul, Oblate Mission Team, Ecuador Mission Team and Inner City Pastoral Ministry.

The name of the group is one used by several other organizations including the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and we felt that, as we are an Oblate parish, it would be a good name for our group too.  Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation’s mission is to follow the Oblate charism and Catholic belief in “a preferential option for the poor” and, through action and advocacy, help those in need both locally and internationally. 

The umbrella group will meet once or twice a year to make plans and develop strategies.  Each member group will continue to do their individual work as before.  However, by banding together, the various member groups will have more people to call on when action is needed and will be able to feel that there is a large group of participants and caring people behind them.

Parishioner-led Member Groups

Development and Peace

Development and Peace (The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace) is the official international development organization of the Catholic Church in Canada and the Canadian member of Caritas Internationalis. D & P is a membership led organization supported by parish collections, individual donations and government grants, principally from the Canadian International Development Agency. For over 40 years, Development and Peace has supported 15,200 local initiatives in fields such as agriculture, education, community action as well as the consolidation of peace and advocacy for human rights in 70 countries.

devpeace sharelent2013 posterHere, in St. Albert, parishioners on the Social Justice committee carry out the work of D & P and support and promote the Fall Campaign and Share Lent campaign each year.  The 2013 Share Lent Campaign has the theme of “Human Dignity”.  Members of D & P are making sure St. Albert Parish is aware of the campaign and the issue it addresses and are encouraging donations for this cause.  If you have an interest in this aspect of JPIC, you may contact Leslie Vandersteen:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information about Development and Peace, go to their website:

www.devp.org  or to http://saltandlighttv.org/anewleaf/

“Development and Peace has been and continues to be an important witness of goodness in the world.  Respect for the dignity of each human being and creation provides the basic values that direct the efforts and work of this organization and movement so that each individual feels a sense of empowerment in addressing serious global problems of inequity, violence, irresponsible stewardship and degrading poverty. D&P emphasizes the need to be in solidarity with our common humanity. D&P has been very instrumental in shaping my own world view that is rooted in and consistent with my Christian faith. It has helped inform, educate and engage me as an active participant, in adding my humble efforts and hope filled voice to the challenge of building a more just and caring world.”

- Wilf Borgstede 


Ecuador Mission Team

Ecuador-2011-poor-1Members of our parish have participated in an annual Medical/Dental Mission to a remote mountain area of Ecuador for nine years now.  Some parishioners raise funds here at home and others travel thousands of miles to serve the Ecuadorans in their villages.  Each year our parishioners come back humbled and grateful. 

Ecuador -2011-poor-2The team, with skilled volunteers from Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver flies to Ecuador to perform orthopedic surgery and provide dental treatments to hundreds of villagers who would go untreated without the work of the team.   Today the team has grown to include 40 - 50 volunteers:  surgeons, doctors, nurses, dentists, physiotherapists and other support staff - all with the same goal - to help the poor, using their medical expertise. Every morning begins with prayer & reflection.  They work out of two hospitals in the City of Cuenca up in the Andes Mountains.

If you would like to help or wish more information please email Emir Poelzer:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

“When we are in Ecuador, we work hard as a team, 12-14 hours per day, for ten days.  Each of us comes home tired but richer, more humbled and extremely grateful.  Through the generosity of many of our parishioners, our Knights of Columbus, our Development & Peace team, and other donors we are able to give the poor people in the Ecuador mountain villages the greatest charity of all, a ‘hand-up’ rather than a handout!!

- Emir Poelzer

For more information on the Ecuador Mission go to: www.emascanada.org/ecuadorreport.htm 

 


 

Inner City Pastoral Ministry

Edmonton’s Inner City Pastoral Ministry (ICPM) partners with around 90 area churches to offer Sunday lunch to inner city residents.  St. Albert Parish, due to our size and the ongoing enthusiasm and generosity of the parishioners, has the good fortune to be solely responsible for providing the Easter Sunday meal.  This responsibility is a joyful one and it is a great blessing that our parish has this opportunity.

Each year a group of parishioners organizes this Easter Sunday Brunch for the Bissell Centre in Edmonton.  First, a call goes out to the parish for donations of food and money to supply this lunch.  Then a group of 20-30 people gather in the parish hall the day before Easter to prepare all the food.  The Saturday volunteers are treated to the amazing sight of a long parade of food being brought into the church hall ... full hams and turkeys roasted and carved in people’s homes, great bowls of egg and tuna salad, gallons of pickles and olives, large slabs of cheese and butter, numerous platters of fruits and vegetables, muffins, cookies, cakes and squares and several dozen loaves of bread.  This day’s crew, working in an assembly line for just a few hours, makes the food, packs It up overnight and then takes it to the Bissell Centre the next day and serves lunch to everyone there.

This has been going on now for seven years.  If you would like to help with this, please call Deborah Zechel at 780-458-5578.

“The need is great and feeding the hungry is immediate and rewarding. Our event is necessary and, though only once a year, it connects our parish to many other churches of various denominations. More importantly, this experience connects us to the individuals that contend with poverty and its deprivation every day. Each person that contributes to the ICPM Easter Brunch by donating food or money, or spending hours preparing and serving food, is integral to the continuance of the ICPM's mission in the inner city. “

- Deborah Zechel 

“The first day I went with some trepidation as I was uncertain how we would be received.  However, that first day and all those following have turned out to be absolutely wonderful.  Going among the people sharing the sign of peace I’ve always found them to be sincerely welcoming.  As with any other group of people, some are shy, some more outgoing.  A few times I’ve had one of the men actually stand and tip his baseball hat as I approached.  There are smiles and hymnal sharing and even some hugs.  These are some of the most open people I’ve ever met.  There is much laughter during the morning and lots of kidding around.  Some of the men take great delight in teasing us as well as each other.  We’re all thanked numerous times as we pass out the food and drinks and wish everyone a Happy Easter. 

I can’t think of anything I’d rather do on Easter morning than spend it in this way.  Every year it is the same, on the way home I’m almost overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude for being part of this group, for being able to spend time with the people we serve, the other parishioners, the wonderful ICPM folks, and appreciation for the people at home who through their donations and work make it all possible.”

- Geneva Lander

 


 

Oblate Mission Team

St Albert Parish was established by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1861 and has been served by priests of this order ever since.  The Oblates are an international order of Roman Catholic Priests and Brothers founded in France by St  Eugene De Mazenod in 1826.  Currently more than 4,000 Oblates are dedicated to bringing the good news to the poor in nearly 60 countries world-wide.  Several years ago a group of our parishioners formed a Mission Team to serve those outside of our parish.

Our Team

We are a diverse group of people of various ages and backgrounds with faith as our guide and a desire to help the less fortunate as our goal.  “Practice well among yourselves charity, charity, charity and outside zeal, for the salvation of souls” (St Eugene De Mazenod). 

Mission News

The main focus of our team is the parish sponsorship of an orphanage in Guatemala.  The orphanage is run by about 15 very loving and dedicated sisters who care for approximately 60 children who are HIV positive.  The children range in age from infant to 13 years old.  Located on site is a school that the children attend, along with a playground, dining hall, dormitories, small hospital and church.  Over the past few years there have been a number of mission visits to the orphanage by our parishioners.

Guatemala1 guatemala2 Guatemala3 Guatemala4 

Guatemala5 Guatemala6 Guatemala7

 

For more information on the Hogar Madre Anna Vitiello orphanage in Guatemala go to: http://hogarmadreannavitiello.obolog.com/

Our mission team is also active on a local level.  We try to serve the poor locally with activities such as visits to the Hope Mission, Food Bank, Mustard Seed Church and Marian Centre.  We have also visited inmates at a women’s prison in Edmonton, donated clothing for the poor, and helped to fundraise for YESS.

Team Testimonials

“I am ever so grateful for the experiences, opportunity and the amazing friendships I have made in being a part of the Oblate Mission Team.  Going to Guatemala and participating in Inner city work has been life changing. I am so blessed for these continuing opportunities with the Oblate team”

- Jenn Manzulenko

I have to say that my walk in the city center was an eye opener. In my humble opinion, what is really needed in the city center is the creation of genuine relationships with the individuals there. Many have lost their way because they have lost their sense of self and worthiness. I feel that Jesus' way was to stay and eat with the less fortunate and that gave them a confidence and sparked a flame in them that helped them to renew their lives.”

- Julie Maisonneuve

Mission to Tuktoyaktuk

tukSome of the Oblate Mission Team experienced their latest adventure in February 2012.  This undertaking was a 10 day excursion to Tuktoyaktuk!  Yes!  Seven men and women from our mission team along with our pastor Father Andrzej drove 3,600 km into the great white north to meet with and assess the needs of the northern people, visiting several Oblate Missions along the way.  They delivered a much needed heating stove and supplies to Our Lady of Grace Roman Catholic Mission in Tuktoyaktuk. 

Dempster hiway"I have been fortunate enough to have travelled with the Parish Oblate Mission Team twice in the last couple years, to both Guatemala and Tuktoyaktuk. Both experiences have enriched my life in a big way as I have learned the value of reaching out to touch other peoples' lives, particularly the children we encountered in Tuk but even more so in the orphanage in Guatemala. We sponsor four children there annually, and it allowed me to get closer to them and actually provide videos and pictures to my own four children who really want to go there now and meet them. The two trips have opened my eyes to how very much we have here, and how much we have to share. Thanks so much for the opportunity!"

- Daryl Wright

If you would like to help with any of these activities, please email Norma Wolbeck at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Bernie Fitzsimmons at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

St. Vincent de Paul Society, St. Albert Conference

The Society invites you to join in works of charity. We need volunteers who will visit the poor who call on the Society for help and identify their needs. The Society will provide the training. We need volunteers who will drive the St. Vincent de Paul truck or come along as a swamper to pick-up and deliver furnishing and goods. Maybe you can help with the logistics of the scheduling of pick-ups and deliveries.  If you wish to get involved in these activities, please email Joan Stang at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For general information and a history of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, go to their website:
www.ssvp.ca  or www.ssvpedmonton.ca 

 “The needs of the poor are many – food, clothing, furniture and even some financial help.  When you serve others through St. Vincent de Paul, you serve their needs almost instantly and that is gratifying. It should be noted though, that the poor are very grateful and humbled and we must always be aware of their dignity and courage to live in those circumstances. We have been privleged to have the resources to help them and we are grateful to our community for their support as well. “                                                    

- May Carline

“Vincentians are mission oriented people who follow in the footsteps of the founder of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Frederic Ozanam in his Mission:
see Christ in anyone who suffers;
come together as a family;
have personal contact with the poor;
help in all possible ways.”

- Gerard Tersmette                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Social Justice

Our Social Justice team represents Development and Peace in our parish and works with local organizations to promote issues right here at home.  Over the past ten years SJ has been involved in activities which supported the 5 year sponsorship of a Columbian refugee family, promoted Fair Trade product sales, annually assisted the Ecuador Medical / Dental Mission (including parish members and Dr Avila), as well as the preparation of sandwiches for the Bissell Center Easter Meal. Through participation in the organization St Albert Christians for Social Justice, an interfaith group, the team also supported local social justice endeavors such as Habitat for Humanity, St Albert Affordable Housing Society and St Albert Community Village and also volunteered to assist Society of St Vincent de Paul. Each year the Social Justice team have helped to organize parish participation in the Roy Financial Mayor's Walk for Charity for an assortment of deserving causes.  If you wish to get involved in these activities, please email Leslie Vandersteen:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Wilf Borgestede: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

“When we joined the Social Justice committee, we initially hoped to make a difference locally through social action and charity, however, as we became aware of other social justice organizations, the need for global assistance became apparent to us. Much of our focus over the following several years revolved around educating ourselves about global issues and how the Catholic organization, Development and Peace, and its partners stand up for human dignity throughout the world. We have continued to advocate for the support of D&P and their causes to this day.

We have grown together greatly, both spiritually and in knowledge, and have been blessed with friendships gained through our involvement in the parish community and the Social Justice Committee. Although at times frustrating, overall, the rewards have rekindled our belief in the goodness of people and that each small part can make a difference in social justice for all.”

- Max and Leslie Vandersteen     

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