Our Parish History

STS. JOACHIM & ANN PARISH

A BRIEF HISTORY

In 1947, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, Most Rev. Wm. Duke, declared the region of Bradner/Aldergrove a parish of the Archdiocese. The new parish was assigned to Fr. James F. Carney (who would in 1969 become the eighth Archbishop of the Archdiocese). Fr. Carney was in his new parish only on weekends when he literally went door to door to seek out Catholics. There was a little chapel on Bradner Rd., Our Lady of Sorrows, and for a time Fr. Carney held services there. He would stay overnight with some of the families who had joined his parish. In 1948, Fr. Carney decided to hold Mass in the Town of Aldergrove because it was central. He rented first the Agricultural Hall, then Vasa Hall for a little over a year.  

old churchPurchase of Property and Construction of Church

Father Carney continuously searched the area for a suitable property, finally settling on half an acre with 100 foot frontage on Jackman Rd. (now 2826 – 272nd St.). Later, more property on the parcel became available and was also purchased. By the fall of 1948, excavation for the church basement had begun.   A turkey supper was held in the fall of 1948 to help raise money for building the church and one has been held every year since, usually in September. Sometime in 1949 the outside structure of the church was completed, although the inside was not yet furnished. By the fall of 1949, the little congregation of 15 families had moved into the church basement for all services. The Catholic Extension Society obtained a grant of $500 which was put toward the construction of the new church with the proviso that the church be named St. Ann’s. Father Carney was our pastor until December 1950 when he was transferred to Vancouver full-time. The members of the small community worked very hard to pay off the debt that had been assumed to finance the purchase of the property and the construction of the small church and in four years the debt was paid in full.

In June 1953 the Church of St. Ann, Aldergrove, was dedicated to the glory of God by Archbishop Duke. The first priest that lived in Aldergrove instead of commuting from Vancouver was Fr. Edward O’Dwyer who was pastor from 1955 to 1956.

The Rectory is Built

Construction of the rectory was begun in 1957. At the beginning, services were held both in Aldergrove and Bradner but in 1961 Mass at Bradner was discontinued because very few attended there. In 1975 there was an exchange of land between the Township of Langley and the church property so that the parish ended up with more than our original five acres of land. A fire caused extensive damage to the rectory in 1981. The insurance settlement made it possible to start building an extension to the church.

CWL and Knights of Columbus Established

Our local council of the Catholic Women’s League was officially established on May 21, 1950 and Council #9451, John Paul I Council, of the Knights of Columbus received their charter on December 1, 1986. At Christmas 1988, a beautiful stained glass window, “The Coronation of Our Lady” was installed on the west wall of the church, a gift to the parishioners from the C.W.L.

Plans for a New Church

history montage

Eventually the congregation outgrew the “little white church at Aldergrove” and started saving toward building a larger church. During the pastorate of Fr. David Hughes (1985-1991) a parishioner generously donated $50,000 to start a Building Fund for the construction of a new church.   This parish is one of seven parishes responsible for St. John Brebeuf Regional Secondary School in Abbotsford (opened in September 1992), so we had to pay our share of the school’s start-up costs. We used most of our Building Fund at that time but we were one of only a couple of parishes in the deanery that didn’t have to go into debt to pay their share of the new high school. With the help of Project Advance our Building Fund grew and we were able to break ground in September 2001 for the construction of the new church which was dedicated in August 2002. The new church is on the same property as the old one, in the centre of Aldergrove, on the corner of 28th Ave. and 273rd St. At the request of Fr. Wm. Mendenhall and the Pastoral Council, Archbishop Exner, in October 2002, entrusted the new church to the patronage of both St. Joachim and St. Ann, Mary’s parents and Jesus’ grandparents, renaming it Sts. Joachim & Ann Parish.

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