Skip to content

Chestermere church to host open house in support of brick-and-mortar chapel

“We have a mission, vision, and values, so our tagline is ‘Nothing is impossible with God,’” Fr. Hagel noted.

St. Gabriel The Archangel Catholic Parish in Chestermere is hosting an open house later this month to rally the city together in support of a brick-and-mortar chapel that would serve as a place of worship and a gathering site for congregants and community members alike.

The parish has been serving Chestermerians since its founding in 2007, but without the use of its own facility, the congregation has been gathering in the gymnasium of St. Gabriel The Archangel High School for its Sunday services, according to Father James Hagel, parish priest.

Fr. Hagel who serves as a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary, has served congregants in parishes in Calgary, High River, and now Chestermere.

He said the purpose of the upcoming open house is to reintroduce the congregation to the community and rally together support for a church building.

“We want to be able to have our own building and so we want to introduce the community to the building project,” Hagel said.

The event will be hosted at St. Gabriel The Archangel High School on Oct. 21 from 5 to 9 p.m.

Though the congregation is some time away from erecting a physical building, Fr. Hagel noted the open house is an opportunity to begin an “intense fundraising phase.”

He added the gym currently facilitates mass on Sundays, but it is impractical for congregants to gather there to celebrate certain sacraments, including weddings and funerals.

“You need a space for that, but even for our youth group, we can’t really have a youth group because we’d have to rent space to be able to do [that],” he said, adding the church would have to ensure adequate insurance coverage for the rental space for youth events.

“So all of a sudden, renting the recreation center and buying insurance for that one time – it becomes exorbitant to even do a youth activity. So that becomes a little bit more challenging.”

According to the priest, the future facility would also be used for various social gatherings for parishioners and for outside groups in the community who may want a smaller space to play cards or for other activities.

Highlighting the need for a facility like this, Fr. Hagel claimed approximately one-quarter of Chestermere’s population identifies as Catholic.

“To have a church to be able to go to say, ‘This is where we can pray, this is where we are, we can be a community,’ I think that’s important,” he said.

The head of the congregation added a physical church is a chance for people to experience God firsthand.

“You can experience God through other [means], but to be able to experience [Him] through the architecture and the arts and to be in a place that’s dedicated to prayer [is important],” he said.

Fr. Hagel said he and his parishioners often go for hikes in the Rocky Mountains to fundraise, bond, build friendships, and experience the beauty of Alberta’s natural landscape, which for many hikers doubles as a spiritual experience.

“Those mountaintop experiences are important, and a physical building embodies that,” he said.

The congregation conducted a survey last spring to determine whether there was a desire for a physical church building and if so, what might impediments be to donate to a church building fund.

“The number-one answer was personal finances and inflation and it’s just gotten worse since then,” Fr. Hagel said. “The second one was a lack of information.”

He added the purpose of the open house is to disseminate information to the community and to St. Gabriels’ parishioners. He encourages community members to bring their curiosity and their questions to the event.

“The purpose is to be able to inform the community where we’re at in the building, find what we want to do next, and how they can be a part of it,” he said.

The meeting will conclude with an opportunity for attendees to get involved, join a committee, or join a ministry.

“We have a mission, vision, and values, so our tagline is ‘Nothing is impossible with God,’” Fr. Hagel noted.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks