Holy Spirit Province Saint-Esprit
Franciscans of CanadaFranciscains du Canada

Ordo Fratrum Minorum

Building St. Anthony’s church

Building St. Anthony’s church

In 1918, Fr. Boniface Heidmeier became the priest in charge of the Pine Creek and Warspite missions in Alberta. That same year, the Canadian National Railway built a new rail line with four new stations through the district, but not one station was near St. Anthony’s church in Pine Creek. Hoping to secure one of the stations as a centre for the Catholics, it was decided that Warspite should be the home for the future Catholic church.

Train station in Warspite, Alberta, 1920s.

On June 1920, the old church at Pine Creek was dismantled to give way to the new church that would be built in Warspite. In the winter of 1920, most of the men in the district volunteered to cut and haul lumber for the new building. Construction work began in early spring under the supervision of a well-known local carpenter, Alec McDonald.

According to Fr. Boniface Heidmeier’s wishes, the sanctuary was separated from the main body of the church by an arch with the inscription “Come, Let Us Adore.” The lettering was done by Fr. Boniface himself. The first Mass in the new building was celebrated on June 13, 1921.

St. Anthony’s church in Warspite, AB, under construction, 1921.

 

Over the years, as early pioneers in many communities, the Franciscans have helped build numerous churches in cities and towns across Canada. We hope to share more of these unique stories and experiences in future posts!