History of our Parish

St Edwards Parish, Lake Country

The following brief and admittedly hurried run through the 70 year history of St. Edward invaluable input of the CWL and Marilyn Slivinski.

If anything the following summary shows we have a lot to write about and if anyone is interested in helping create a more comprehensive story of our parish then please contact the Parish office. But on with the story….

St. Edwards Parish was formed in the 1940’s.

1959 saw the re-organization of the Altar Society as the Catholic Women’s League (CWL). At the first meeting of the CWL 29 women accepted membership and committed themselves to foster and uphold the CWL’s principals. From there started a whole series of community projects, bake sales, card parties and other social events and spiritual programs with the CWL as a driving force.

In 1964, a milestone was reached with the rectory being declared debt free. Not ones for resting on their laurels, St Edward’s Parish then embarked on a program of fundraising for the addition of a new hall to the existing church. However , due to more pressing needs the funds raised were diverted into a new furnace, heating bills and a new organ so the hall was never built.

In the 1970’s St. Edward’s went international, with 3 families from India being adopted through the Save-A-Family Plan and donations to the support the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.

We also opened a lending library and the CWL created a Treasure Chest of comic books for the youth of the parish.

The parish transferred from the Kamloops Diocese to the Nelson Diocese in 1981. In 1982 Father Pat McCarthy became the resident parish priest after a long period of temporary priests. A prayer week was initiated with the parish which then spread throughout the community and through the valley from Oyama to Westbank. Kelowna City Council declared the week ‘A Week of Prayer’.

The highlight of the year in 1985, was the last Mass and final move from ‘The Little White Church on the Highway’ to the new church on Okanagan Centre Road, with a dedication ceremony and a reception for over 300 people.

As noted in the history of the CWL the little white church will be remembered fondly for the ‘times of joy and laughter, the times of sadness and tears, the time of spiritual learning and spiritual uplifting, all shared together.’

Catechism grew throughout the decade with at least 8-12 adults from our parish attended 2 weekend conferences in preparation for the start of RCIA in St. Edward Parish in 1985 and 1986. Under the leadership of Fr. Don Wilson & Sr. Sheila Moss, together with a team of Parish volunteers, the first RCIA began in September 1986. Classes were held at the home of Terry & Ed O’Neill.

The RCIA team sponsored Adult Education when there were no candidates for the RCIA, using the De Sales Programs, including modules on the Creed and the Sacraments. And the Children’s Religious Education Co-ordinator became a paid position in the mid 1980s.

The Men’s group, who dubbed themselves the Eh-Men, was started by Fr. Martin Bettin, OFM, in 1985-86 and continued under Fr. Don Wilson. The Interim President was Lawrence Slivinski, followed by Hugh Cyr as President. Their focus was on building community in the Parish, and fostering the spiritual growth of their members and families. This initial focus changed to fund raising to complete the church complex under Hugh and subsequent executives.

Annual Parish Meetings began under Fr. Don Wilson using a Wine & Cheese format to encourage attendance! Fr. Don and Sr. Sheila also started the Parish Directories showing pictures of the registered families and giving the addresses & phone numbers.

A Rosary Cenacle group prayed all the decades of the Rosary, with meditations, every Thursday evening in the Church for 8 years in the early 1990’s. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Fridays began during Lent under the guidance of Fr. Jesus Timajo.

Leaping to into the 21st century, the youth of this parish attended World Youth Day in Toronto (2002) and Sidney, Australia (2008)