Thursday, December 21, 2023
December 17, 2023 was the Third Sunday in Advent, traditionally known as “Gaudete Sunday.” The name comes from the first word of the Introit of the Mass - “Rejoice!” It was fitting that on this day, the Parish Community of Sts. Peter & Paul in Welland, Ontario, Canada gathered together with their bishop, pastor, former pastor, and Jacek Nosowicz, OMI the Provincial of the Assumption Province of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, which has served the parish since 1947, to heartily rejoice on the 25th anniversary of their beautiful new parish church building.
Just after Christmas 1996, a fire gutted the wooden church which had stood on the site for almost 80 years. This was actually the second, and most destructive of two fires that struck the church in a short time.
With the leadership of their parish priest, Jan Wadolowski, OMI, there followed much lobbying, hours of prayer, and presentations to those in leadership roles about the new building that would house the liturgical life of Sts. Peter & Paul Parish. The new structure would encompass the best of the liturgcial vision of Vatican II, and would be fully accessible.
During the Anniversary Mass, our bishop, Gerard Bergie, delivered a homily which described how our God is able to bring good from bad, light from darkness, and life from death - even in the case of church buildings. He also mentioned the importance of good worship spaces in the feeding of the people to live and witness to the love and mercy of God found in following our Lord.
After Mass, over 100 parishioners, invited guests, and family and friends of Sts. Peter & Paul, gathered for a delicious meal to share in the joy of the moment. The current pastor, Mirosław Olszewski, OMI, spoke in gratitude “You are the living stones of the parish,” he said.
Deacon Tom Dillon (Sts. Peter & Paul) / photos: Denise Bourque / old photos from https://sppchurchwelland.org/
The previous church, burned down in 1996:
The present church: