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98 Aurora Avenue Pointe-Claire, Quebec H9R 3G7

 
 
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St. Edward the Confessor Mission was created to serve the needs of the local community in the Cedar Park Heights area in the north western section of the City of Pointe Claire. It was created due to the vision and effort of a young family who saw a problem and took steps to correct it. As a result of their work on October 1, 1969 Archbishop Paul Gregoire of the Archdiocese of Montreal,  formally signed the documents creating St. Edward the Confessor Mission.

Pointe Claire had grown rapidly following the Second World War and the last area to be developed was the north-western section. In the ten year period from 1955 to 1965 there was new construction everywhere. Young families had come from all across Canada and elsewhere. New schools, shopping centers, a hospital, a City Hall and other city services were in the works. It was not a boom town but there was a lot of energy and enthusiasm. St. Edmund of Canterbury parish in Beaconsfield was the church serving this area. At that time there were no overpasses on either St. John’s Road or St. Charles Road where they cross the railroad line for the CNR and CP Rail. The underpasses were being built and diversion round the construction at St. Charles and St. John’s Road made it difficult for people the north-east corner of St. Edmund’s parish to make it to St. Edmunds. Some of the Catholics just stopped going to mass.

Dorothy and Con Bach ( formally Bachovzeff ) and their two children lived on Sedgefield Avenue in the town houses near St. John’s Road.  Dorothy was from Windsor, Ontario and Con was born in Australia and came to Canada when he was 18 years old. Dorothy had spoken to the Father McMahon, the pastor of St Edmunds about Catholics in the Cedar Park Heights area who were not attending mass because they had transportation problems getting to St. Edmunds. Father McMahon was concerned about this matter. He had arranged a bus to pick up the parishioners in that area but it did not prove too successful. He suggested that a mission might be established for the Cedar Park Heights area with masses being held in the auditorium of St. Thomas High School that was central. In this way no church would have to be built. To establish this, a petition would have to be signed by people who would be willing to attend and support such a mission. To get this petition signed, Father McMahon gave Dorothy a list of registered Catholics in the area.

Dorothy and Con made a petition and a survey sheet. Dorothy phoned women on various streets to ask them to survey their streets and have people sign the petition  requesting establishment of a mission. With the help of the women of the area, the petition was soon signed and the survey form was completed. The survey found out that there were a lot more Catholics in the area that were not registered at St. Edmunds. Also the people in  the area were very enthusiastic  to have a mission that would have masses said at St. Thomas High School. Dorothy and Con summarized the findings in the survey and gave this summary and the signed petitions to Father McMahon. Then Father McMahon submitted the survey and the petitions to Bishop Gallagher with his strong recommendation to establish the mission in the Cedar Park Heights area of the St. Edmunds parish. Bishop Gallagher asked Con Bach to see him about the information presented and said he was impressed with the way the information was collected by the women of the area and how the information was presented to him.

Soon afterwards, Dorothy and Con were told that Archbishop Paul Gregoire had signed the documents on October 1, 1969 for the establishment of St. Edward the Confessor Mission. Father John Fredrickson, a retired RCAF Chaplain was appointed as the “Priest –in-Charge”. A meeting was held in the public room at Somerville Gardens with people of the area to organize the establishment of the mission with masses to be said in the auditorium of St. Thomas High School. At the meeting various positions required for the running of the mission including a mission council were filled by the people attending the meeting. Very soon after the masses started to be said at St. Thomas High School Auditorium, Bishop Gallagher came to visit the mission and say mass.

Father John retired and was replaced by Father Ernie Schibli effective March 1, 1975. On September 1, 1982 Father Toby McGivern was named pastor. He was succeeded by Father Ken Martin who served until 1992 He was replaced by Father Jim McDonald. In 2001 Father Ernie Schibli returned as pastor.

In 1979 a Saturday evening mass was being held at St. John’s United Church on Aurora Ave. In 1982 the Sunday morning mass was moved to St. John’s and since that time both congregations have operated from that premises. The downturn in the English speaking population starting in the mid sixties affected it too.

From a High School auditorium to sharing a church with St. John’s United, St. Edward the Confessor Mission has come a long way. Today it is a thriving community, its membership extending beyond the borders of Cedar Park Heights. Our relationship with St. John’s has enriched our community further; it is also an example of how those of different faiths can work alongside each other respecting each others’ unique heritage.

We will never be able to repay the work and vision of Dorothy and Con Bach who had the spunk and determination to start it all.

Article courtesy of Wilf Bates

 
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