Coast to Coast
the footsteps of the Canadian Martyrs
Jacques Emily, adapted by Fr. De Vriendt
- Archbishop Lefebvre’s visits to Canada.
“Your history is
an epic”. These words of the Canadian National anthem have a wonderful
application to the Society’s history in Canada; an epic in the true sense
of the word in this country so vast, so diverse and once so Catholic,
redeemed by the blood of valiant martyrs.
This epic of the
Society of St Pius X in Canada begins long before the second Vatican Council,
when Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre then of Dakar (Senegal, Africa) came to
Canada seeking missionary vocations for Africa. It was in May 1955. Archbishop
Lefebvre had witnessed at that time the numerous vocations and the deep
faith of Catholic families, particularly in the Province of Quebec, which
was more than 90% Catholic, the most Catholic of all the Canadian provinces.
Quebec is the land where the first Catholic settlers and missionaries
evangelized Canada: they came from Catholic France. In his trip to Canada
in 1955, Archbishop Lefebvre paid a visit to several religious communities,
amongst others the religious of The Holy Trinity in Montreal and the house
for the African mission Society from Lyon, based in Shawinigan. Here are
a few extracts of our founder’s speech to these Religious. We can see
here the same anxiety for the salvation of souls which lead him later
to found our Society.
“This is the purpose
of my visit to Canada: to ask for your help in the immense work of evangelizing
Black Africa. The future of Catholicism in Africa will be played out in
the quarter century to come, an immense harvest awaits the Divine Message.
Will there be sufficient workers to convert them all? We need many of
them right away.”
In 1972 the Archbishop
returned to Canada, in Rougemont, PQ, at the invitation of Mr. Louis Even,
founder of the “Pilgrims of Saint Michael”, a movement (also called the
‘white berets’) which continues to edit the Catholic conservative newspapers
“Vers Demain” in French, and “Michael” in English. He noticed
with much regret how greatly things had changed since his last visit in
1955. Subsequent to the famous “révolution tranquille – peaceful revolution”
of the sixties in Quebec, which amounted to a quasi complete laicization
of the public life in Quebec, and due also to the revolution of Vatican
II in the whole Catholic Church, all the great values of Faith, Christian
families and Vocations which had so motivated him during his earlier visit
to Canada, had collapsed. The foundation of the international seminary
at Ecône, Switzerland, the legal creation and approval of the Priestly
Society of St Pius X in 1970 and, shortly after, the growing hostility
of the episcopates all over the world against Archbishop Lefebvre and
his work, are all the direct consequences of the Second Vatican Council.
The Archbishop came
again to Canada in 1975 to support the combat of the early pioneers for
Tradition in the country. The religious situation had deteriorated even
further, in Canada as almost anywhere else, especially after the brutal
introduction of the New Mass, a permanent liturgical revolution, and the
illegal ban on the Traditional Mass (1969). The Archbishop came with the
purpose of encouraging valiant Canadian priests and faithful who wanted
to react against the liturgical revolution. He did this with a series
of conferences. It was during this time that Fr. Yves Normandin
was deprived of his post of Pastor and expelled from his parish (Sainte
Yvette) by the Archbishop of Montreal (Mgr Gregoire). What was his crime?
Quite simply his fidelity to the Mass of all time. A few days before the
expulsion of the Pastor, Archbishop Lefebvre had celebrated a pontifical
Mass in his church (Sainte Yvette).
The Archbishop made
many more visits to Canada: in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1982, and two trips
in 1985. On each occasion he experienced the sadness of noticing more
and more the ravages of the crisis in the Church in this country once
so Catholic. However our founder was also edified by the zeal of those
who kept up the good fight: on the one hand independent priests who were
the pioneers of Traditional Resistance in our country (see
below ); and on the other hand the priests of the Society of St Pius
X who carried on their work.
-The history of the priories in Canada
The priory Saint Pius X in Shawinigan, PQ.
of the encouragement given by the Archbishop’s visits, a group of lay
people tried to purchase a house which would serve as a spear head for
the Society of St Pius X in Canada. This house was to act as a focal point
for the faithful priests who had been working with the traditional faithful
of Quebec. So on March 19, 1977 the former Novitiate house of the African
Mission Society at Shawinigan is purchased by a group of faithful (among
them is Andre Couture, notary of Sherbrooke, whose son Daniel became
later on a priest with the Society of St Pius X; Claude Leduc,
engineer in Ste Therese, near Montreal, who is now retired on Vancouver
Island; and Yves Germain, contractor in Quebec city) in the name
of the Society of St Pius X. On that day were present the Fathers Denis
Roch, general bursar of the Society, Pierre Epiney, parish
priest of Riddes (Switzerland) and Yves Normandin. In the summer
of 1977, Fr. Ludovic Barrielle, one spiritual director at the Society
seminary in Ecône, Switzerland, came to Shawinigan to preach the Ignatian
exercises retreat. In October 1977 Shawinigan welcomed its first prior,
Fr. Edmond Samson, from France. Then, on the 8th of
November of the same year, Archbishop Lefebvre came to bless the first
Society priory on Canadian soil. In his beautiful sermon (see
main excerpts) our founder recalled the
providential circumstances that permitted the acquisition of this house
for the Society. In those early years the priory of Shawinigan was truly
a centre of attraction for Tradition in Quebec. We had too few priests
for them to cover the whole of Canada, so they organized the famous “Saturdays
at the priory”, a kind of day of recollection to which the Faithful would
come from all over Quebec, to strengthen their Faith and rekindle their
devotion. In July 1978 the first Solemn Mass of Fr. Diamond was
celebrated. First Canadian priest of the Society, he was ordained on the
29th of June of that same year. In the summer of 1978, Fr.
Joseph Le Boulch, a Benedictine monk who, until his death in 1989,
was teaching Liturgy to the seminarians at the Society’s seminary at Ecône,
Switzerland, visited Shawinigan to preach retreats. He also came the following
year, not only to give retreats, but also to help out in the transition
period after the unfortunate defection of Frs. Samson and Diamond, while
awaiting the arrival of Frs. Pierre Vignalou and Fredy Mery.
Father Vignalou consolidated and expanded the apostolate of the Ignatian
retreats in French. June 1984 saw the ordination of Fr. Daniel Couture,
from Sherbrooke, Quebec; Father Andre Lemieux, from Winnipeg, Manitoba;
and Father Jean Violette, from Edmonton, New Brunswick. This gave
the opportunity for a series of First Solemn High Masses at Shawinigan
and Winnipeg. In September 1984, Fr. Jacques Emily, assisted by
Frs. Jean Violette and Joseph Bado, took the place of Frs.
Vignalou and Mery.
On August 15, 1985,
the autonomous house of Shawinigan was given the status of District Headquarters
for Canada, Father Emily being made the first superior of the Canadian
District. This was made possible since the opening of a second priory
in Canada, St. Raphael Priory in Winnipeg, in January of 1985 (see below).
That same year saw the arrival of Fr. Donat Paradis, a former parish
priest of the little town of Maria, in the beautiful Gaspesia, in Quebec
Province. This valiant eighty year old was of tremendous help during the
nine years which he spent with us in Shawinigan. The year 1985 saw also
the acquisition by the Society of St Pius X of two churches, Saint
Joseph Church in Montreal and Our Lady of Lourdes in Sherbrooke.
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre blessed both churches in May 1985. In November
of that same year, Archbishop Lefebvre came again in Canada, (for what
turned out to be his last visit to our country) for the ordination to
the priesthood of Fr. Dominique De Vriendt, from Quebec city. The
ordination took place in our newly acquired church in Montreal. In 1986,
two new curates were assigned to Shawinigan: Frs. Terry Marks and
Miguel Jimenez, who in their turn were replaced in 1988 by Frs.
Gerard Herrbach and Dominique Boulet. The priory of Shawinigan
now serves also St. Joseph’s church in Montreal and the church of the
Portuguese community in Ottawa.
Raphael’s Priory, Winnipeg
This priory continued
the apostolic work of Fr. Yves Normandin, a priest from the diocese of
Montreal, removed by his Bishop for the “crime” of fidelity to the Tridentine
Mass. Once driven out of his parish, this “Pastor out in the cold” (title
of a book published in 1976, relating the events) exercised an Apostolate
of such a range that it can justly be said that he alone was the founder
of almost all the chapels and missions served henceforth by three priories:
Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary – and we are kept very busy! Fr. Normandin
alone, from 1976 to 1984 kept alight the torch of Tradition throughout
Canada, with the exception of Quebec, which was taken care of by our priests
in Shawinigan. This tireless apostle spent his time on the plane or on
the bus visiting traditional Catholics from one end of the country to
the other, from Nova Scotia to Vancouver island. When the “Indult” came
in 1984, Fr. Normandin unfortunately fell into the trap, which caused
him to be reintegrated to the heart of the official Church. In spite of
everything, we owe him our gratitude for his apostolic zeal that prepared
the way for the Society.
Let us return to
the priory of Winnipeg. The house and the chapel on Giroux street had
been bought in 1980 by a lay association, “the Society of St Pius X Inc.”
to serve as a centre for Fr. Normandin. In the Autumn of 1984, Fr. Normandin
told the faithful that he would return to Montreal to take advantage of
the Indult. The faithful, each and everyone, thanked him for his nine
years of service, though they could not follow him in his new direction.
Meanwhile, Fr. Emily had been contacted. He came to Winnipeg the Sunday
after Fr. Normandin’s departure. In January 1985, Fr. Jean Violette took
up residence in Winnipeg, in the former home of Fr. Normandin, which became
St. Raphael’s Priory. He was it’s first prior. Fr. Violette had
many different assistant priests in Winnipeg: Fr. Loren Gerspacher
(from Langley, BC); Fr. Gerard Rusak (from Keewatin, Ontario);
Fr. Francois Castel and Fr. Dominique Boulet from France;
and Fr. Richard Vachon, from Beauceville, Quebec. In the steps
of Fr. Normandin, their apostolate expanded very much towards the West,
up to Vancouver island, and to Western Ontario, up to Thunder Bay. In
1992, Fr. Violette founded the priory in Calgary. Fr. Boulet then became
the prior of Winnipeg. He was assisted by Fr. Vachon and then by Fr.
James Dolan. From 1998 to 1999, the priory at Winnipeg was temporarily
closed and reopened again in September of 1999 with Fr. Boulet as prior
and Fr. Dominique De Vriendt as his assistant.
From Winnipeg the
priory of St. Raphael serves the chapel of St. Teresa of the Child
Jesus at Dryden, Ontario (1995) and Our Lady of Fatima
chapel at Welwyn in Saskatchewan. Other missions are served at
Kenora in Ontario, Regina and Saskatoon in Saskatchewan.
Until September 2001, which saw the opening of the new priory in Vernon,
BC, Winnipeg shared with the priory of Calgary the apostolate in the province
of British Columbia, save all the missions served by Fr. Paul Grueter
(see below) from Vernon, in the Okanagan Valley.
The former chapel
on Giroux street inherited from Fr. Normandin in Winnipeg, by now too
small, was sold in 1990. To replace it an entire complex was acquired,
including in particular a disaffected Protestant church and a house for
the priests, as well as suitable buildings for a small primary school,
the St. Raphael Academy.
Family School at Levis (Lauzon), Quebec
This school which
is also a priory (that means: a permanent residence house for at least
2 priests) was opened in 1989 by Fr. Emily, in response to an agonizing
appeal on the part of numerous families in Quebec, seeking a Catholic
school for their children. After different projects involving the restructuring
of the priory in Shawinigan, Divine Providence sent us the magnificent
property and school building which was the former Mgr. Guay Institute,
on the south bank of the majestic St. Lawrence river, opposite the city
of Quebec. A businessman acted as an intermediary for the transaction.
In fact the property belonged to the diocese of Quebec, which was not
particularly disposed to sell it to us. So imagine the surprise of the
sisters acting as guardians of the property, when on the 6th
of October 1989, they saw Frs. Emily and Violette arriving, only to inform
them that the Society of St Pius X was now the new owner. The year 1989
– 1990 was devoted to the necessary renovation of the building, which
in September 1990 was ready to open its doors to a first contingent of
students. After Fr. Emily, the school had for its headmaster Fr. Dominique
Rousseau, and 5 years later Fr. Yves le Roux, both from France.
These have been helped in their made by Frs. Castel, Vachon, Pinaud,
Roscoe, De Vriendt, Rusak, Bergez, Kergall and, presently,
by Frs. de l’Estourbeillon and Gueguen, both from France.
The Holy Family School now serves also Our Lady of Lourdes church
at Sherbrooke, the chapel of the Queenship of Mary at Beauceville
(1995) and the chapel of the Precious Blood home for the elderly
at Levis. This last is another jewel of the Society of St Pius
X in Canada. This historical building, which once belonged to the famed
Sisters of the Precious Blood, was wonderfully remodeled to meet the requirements
of a home for the elderly, but at the same time keeping as much as possible
the aspect of the ancient religious house, especially the front facade,
and the beautiful chapel.
priory of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Calgary, Alberta
This priory was founded
by Father Jean Violette in 1992 as a division of the Winnipeg priory,
to better serve the numerous and active faithful of Calgary. An old Protestant
church was bought in 1988 and remodeled. In 1992-1993 the house opposite
our church was renovated to make a priory for Fr. Violette and his assistant,
Belisle. In 1994, with the departure of Fr. Violette to Australia, Fr.
Belisle became prior of Calgary. As the years passed, he had as assistants
Frs. Christopher Brandler, James Dolan, Richard Vachon, Freddy
Mery, Dominique Boulet, and now Francis Ockerse. In 2001 Fr. Belisle
was himself transferred to Australia, and Fr. Todd Angele, from
the USA, came to replace him.
The Calgary priory
now serves the church of Our Lady of Sorrows at Rocky Mountain
House (1989) as well as the other chapels of the Fraternity in the
Province of Alberta: Edmonton, Fort McLeod, Redcliff
and Sundre/Olds. Under the supervision and the leadership of Fr.
Ockerse, a beautiful shrine in honour of St. Joseph was built in the country
near Sundre and is now already famed for the annual 3 days pilgrimage
(in the month of May) during which many faithful walk from Rocky
Mountain House to St. Joseph Shrine in Sundre (about 100 km walk)!
Moreover the St.
John Bosco Academy in Calgary is under the direction of our priests.
This school was for a long time housed in the basement of our church.
In 1995, a suitable propriety was bought to accommodate the increasing
number of pupils. Finally in 1996-1997 the original priory was torn down
and replaced by a spacious house better adapted to the needs of our priests.
Michael’s Priory, Toronto, Ontario
During the years
1990 – 1992 when Fr. Emily was prior at the Holy Family School at Lauzon,
he would jump into the plane at the weekend to serve Toronto and Orillia
where the Society had acquired churches in 1991. Very quickly a permanent
residence was envisaged for Toronto so as to limit the cost and the fatigue
of these journeys and to provide the District Superior with the necessary
peace and quiet to carry out his task. A priory was bought in 1993 and
Fr. Emily settled in gradually making it the residence of the District
Superior of Canada. Frs. Castel, Pinaud, Rousseau, Rusak, Rajadurai, De
Vriendt and Sulzen were his assistants.
As well as the Church
of the Transfiguration in Toronto (1991) the priory of Toronto
now serves the Church of the Holy Canadian Martyrs at Orillia
(1991); the Church of the Holy Face at Saint Catharines,
which was first purchased by regretted Father Paul Nault, a priest
from Montreal who died in 1997; and the Church of the Sacred Heart
at Wyoming (1999). The priory also serves Sudbury, as well
as the mission in Moncton in the province of New Brunswick. Fr.
Violette, who replaced Fr. Emily as District Superior in 2000, has now
as his assistants Frs. Fredy Mery and Carl Sulzen.
Fraternity Apostolate in British Columbia
The last issue of
Communicantes presented an overview of the apostolate in that province.
Let us just recall that Fr. Paul Grueter (see also
below), a priest formerly of the Diocese of Calgary, and a good friend
of the Society of St Pius X, established the centre of his apostolate
at Vernon in the Okanagan valley. There he bought a church (1996)
and built a house (1997). Foreseeing his retirement and the expansion
of the apostolate of the Society of St Pius X, he donated the property
to the Society, which became officially a priory of the same in September
2001, with Fr. Dominique Boulet as its prior, and Fr. Emmanuel Herkel
as his assistant. Fr. Grueter is now “half retired” on Vancouver island,
where he continues to help with the apostolate of the Society by serving
the chapel Our Lady of Good Counsel at Nanaimo. St. Joseph’s
church at Oliver, also purchased by Fr. Grueter, is served from
Vernon as are the other chapels in the central zone of British Columbia
founded by Fr. Grueter (Kamloops, and Nelson). On the Pacific coast, the
beautiful and big church of Christ the King at Langley comes
also under the responsibility of the new priory of Vernon.
the establishment of the Society of St Pius X in Canada
heroic resistance of Canadian priests
As anywhere else,
many older priests in Canada, and especially in Quebec, did resist the
modernist revolution, preparing the way for the work of the Society of
St Pius X.
LEMAY, doctor in Philosophy, was ordained to the priesthood on May
21, 1921. He was the pastor of “Ste Sophie Barat” parish in Montreal.
In his last years, he said the Traditional Mass in several rented rooms
in Montreal for a group of faithful. He departed for his eternal rest
in 1984. Father Pierre Vignalou, of the Society of St Pius X, celebrated
his funeral, Father Emily being present.
PAQUIN, was born at “Saint-Didace”, Quebec, in 1895. He studied at
the Seminary of Joliette, where he obtained his degree of Bachelor of
Arts, and then at the seminary of Saint-Sulpice in Montreal. He was ordained
to the priesthood by H.E. Bishop Forbes in 1926. He was curate for several
parishes in the dioceses of Joliette and of Montreal. Later he was appointed
pastor of the parishes of Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci and of Sainte-Marie-Salomé.
He retired in the town of l’Épiphanie, and then in Montreal, where he
departed for his eternal rest April 30, 1986. He had been preaching retreats
at the priory of Shawinigan in 1978 and 1979 together with the Fathers
Le Boulch, Normandin, Samson and Diamond. “After having heard of the upset
introduced in the Liturgy with the New Mass which was composed with the
help of Protestants only to please them, he came to acknowledge that the
New Mass is doubtful in its lawfulness and sometimes even in its validity.
And because it is unsafe for salvation to celebrate a doubtful Mass, he
opted for what was absolutely certain: the Traditional Mass, of Centuries
old.” (Excerpts from his Curriculum Vitae, written by himself to appear
on his funeral card).
BOURGEOIS, was ordained to the priesthood December 8, 1929. He has
been Chaplain at the teachers’ training college Laval de Mérici, directed
by the Ursulines Sisters, in Quebec City. He is also well known, together
with Canon Georges Panneton, for publishing in 1969, in the city of Trois
Rivières, an excellent summary of dogmatic theology for the faithful as
well as for the priests: “Sommaire de Théologie Dogmatique”. That
book was widely known and well appreciated by all those in French speaking
Canada who wanted to know and to defend the traditional teaching of the
Church. On every matter, the book gives statements of the Magisterium
of the Church with many references, and the theological notation. He died
HENRY: born at Plouguenast in the diocese of Saint-Brieuc in France
on December 16, 1904. He entered the missionary order of the Oblates of
Mary Immaculate (O.M.I.) and was ordained a priest at Liège in Belgium,
12th of July 1931. He was sent to the Hudson Bay missions from
1932 till 1971. He then retired first at Châteauneuf-Sutton, and then,
from 1973 till 1978, at Shawinigan where he came to offer the Tridentine
Mass for a group of Traditional faithful. He is one of the first priests
who visited the Society priory of Shawinigan. He died at Ste Agathe-des-Monts
on February 4, 1979 and was buried in the cemetery of the Oblates of Mary
Immaculate at Richelieu, in the province of Quebec.
COULOMBE, was born on July 11, 1912 and ordained a priest in May 1937.
He has been a curate at St. Vincent de Paul parish in Montreal, and then
at St. Vincent de Paul parish at Laval (North of Montreal). He celebrated
his 60 years priestly jubilee on May 1997, at the Society of St Pius X
church in Montreal as well as at Holy Family School in Lauzon. For many
years he has been a great help for our priests in their ministry at St.
Joseph Church in Montreal, as well as a spiritual director for many Traditional
faithful in Quebec. He died May 10th, 2000 in Montreal and
had his funeral in the Society’s St. Joseph church.
d’ANJOU, S.J. was born on March 6, 1906 at Bic, near Rimouski. He
was ordained a priest to the Jesuit Order on August 15, 1937. He departed
for his eternal rest May 5, 1983, the day of the feast of St. Pius V,
the great Pope of the counter-reformation who restored the Traditional
Mass. Father D’Anjou has been a Jesuit for 58 years. He was successively
professor at the St. Ignace College and the Bréboeuf College in Montreal,
and then director of the famous Jesuit publication “Relations”.
He has also been preaching retreats and has acted as librarian in Quebec
City. At the outset he resisted the conciliar liturgical reforms – or
revolution. When the New Mass appeared and was irregularly imposed as
“mandatory” in 1969, he was the first in Quebec City who organized, with
the help of some faithful, a center for the Traditional Mass, first, and
for a short while, in two churches of which he was finally expelled, then
in halls provided by the faithful. In spite of misunderstanding and persecution
from his superiors, he always remained in the Jesuit Order. Many Traditional
people came to visit him in his convent at rue Dauphine, to seek his spiritual
advice. He wrote many articles in the press to criticize the modernist
new catechism (inspired from the very modernist Dutch catechism) published
by the bishops of Quebec, and he wrote letters to the publisher of newspapers
against the modernist liturgical revolution and against the sexual education
in schools. In spite of his spiritual testament which he had written on
March 6, 1982, his religious superiors denied him the traditional funeral
which he had requested explicitly.
BOUCHARD was born in Sherbrooke on July 19, 1902. He attended the
Centre and then the College of Arthabasca, in which he took the religious
habit of the Sacred Heart Brothers, wanting to dedicate his life to teaching.
At the age of about 35 he felt the call to become a priest. In spite of
many difficulties he was ordained to the priesthood June 8, 1941 by H.E.
Bishop Desranleau, at Rigaud. He ministered successively at Windsor (Quebec),
Valcourt, Danville, Mégantic, Austin, Bromptonville and Masborough as
well at the d’Youville hospital in Sherbrooke.
He came back to Montreal
to be a teacher at the seminary of the Holy Apostles, and later at the
Bourget College at Rigaud, and finally, at Pointe-aux-Trembles (near Montreal).
In 1967 he retired
in the diocese of Sherbrooke. This was the time when many changes disordered
the teaching methods as well as the Liturgy. For the holy Mass, for example,
the Roman Missal was replaced by loose leaflets, which infuriated Father
Bouchard to the point that he decided to throw out the liturgical reforms
and to take back the good old Roman Missal.
It was because of
his devotion to the Holy Rosary that the first traditional minded faithful
got in touch with him and established in 1973 the “Groupe Latino Grégorien
– the Latin Gregorian Group), for which he offered, till the end, the
traditional Latin Mass in a rented hall in Sherbrooke.
He died at the Hotel-Dieu
of Sherbrooke the 25th of December 1984, at the age of 82.
The priests of the Society of St Pius X carry on his apostolate in Sherbrooke
ever since that time.
Father André JOLICOEUR
was born in 1918 at St-Ephrem-de-Beauce. He had his education with the
Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in Beauport (near Quebec City), and after
at the higher seminary of Sherbrooke, where he was ordained a priest in
1943. He fulfilled his sacerdotal ministry at Lac Mégantic, Sherbrooke,
Richmond (Quebec), Weedon, Ham-Sud, Chartierville and Whitton. He retired
at Sherbrooke in 1980. He sang the funeral Mass of Father Bouchard whom
he had assisted in his last illness and had replaced on several occasions
to say the Mass for the traditional faithful. Since 1988, he helps out
a great deal the priests of the Society of St Pius X at Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes
church in Sherbooke.
Paul GRUETER. After 20 years of sacerdotal ministry in the diocese
of Calgary, Alberta, depressed and worn away by the changes in the Church
following Vatican II, Father Grueter decided to retire. He came to Vernon,
in British Columbia. He first disposed in his home a little chapel where
to say his daily mass, before leaving for work (first as a carpenter,
until 1975, and then as a caretaker in an hospital).
Paul Greuter, with Father Loren Gerspacher (left) and
Father Jean Violette (right)
From 1977 and on,
people asked him to assist at his mass, so he laid out the basement of
his house into a chapel, which he dedicated to Our Lady Queen of Peace,
which attracted more and more people.
In 1979 at the request
of a family who had arranged a little chapel in their house, he started
visiting every other week, on his day off, to offer the Mass in Oliver,
a little town in the South of the Okanagan Valley, near the American border.
The same thing started in Kamloops in 1981, and in Williams
Lake and Nelson in 1985. That same year, he was blessed with
the visit of Archbishop Lefebvre who came to Vernon together with Father
Emily, and gave the sacrament of Confirmation.
In 1986 after lengthy
and difficult steps, Father Grueter was able to purchase a Ukrainian Catholic
church which he coveted since a long time. Finally the negotiations resulted
in an agreement on March 19, feast of Saint Joseph, Patron Saint of the
universal Church. Father Grueter took officially possession of the church
on May 1, feast of Saint Joseph the Workman. The first High Mass was chanted
on May 18, on Pentecost Sunday. Since then, the mass is offered there
As soon as he had
finished paying the church, as well as the parish hall and the house next
door to serve as a priory, Father Grueter donated the whole property to
the Society of St Pius X. In September 2000, Father Grueter half-retired
for a more restful life, first near Langley, and a year later in Nanaimo,
on Vancouver Island, where he still offers the Sunday Mass for the faithful
in the Society’s church there. Father Dominique Boulet and Father Emmanuel
Herkel reside now in the new Priory, called Our Lady Queen of Peace, in
Vernon. They are working hard to keep up with the work of Father Grueter
in central British Columbia, besides their apostolate at Christ the King
church in Langley, on the coast.
The most known among
the older traditional priests in Canada is, without doubt, Father Yves
NORMANDIN. He was ordained a priest in 1953. Pastor of Sainte-Yvette
parish in Montreal, he resisted the modernist wave, keeping faithfully
the traditional Mass of all times. Until the day when Archbishop Paul
Grégoire, of Montreal, felt it his duty to call the public forces to expel
the pastor out of his parish. Father Normandin then continued to resist
elsewhere, organizing mass centres, first in Montreal, then all over Canada,
from coast to coast, from Nova Scotia to Vancouver island. In the West,
he met also another pioneer: Fr. Paul Grueter.
One must also make
mention of Father J. Réal BLEAU, ordained a priest in 1943, who, like
Father Normandin, fought the good fight for Tradition and against the
conciliar revolution until 1984. Unfortunately, Father Normandin did not
choose to carry on that good fight. After nine years of heroic and tiring
apostolate for the Catholic traditionalists, he, and Father Bleau fell
in the trap of the “Indult Mass” in 1984, “coming back” into the conciliar
church the year after Pope John Paul II visited Canada
. Nevertheless we cannot deny that they, and
especially Fr. Normandin, contributed to maintain the Catholic Faith and
Tradition in Canada and to prepare the way for the Society of St Pius
Nault. He was born on March 3, 1927, and was ordained a priest on
March 4, 1962. He ministered several parishes, mostly in Montreal. He
took up again the Traditional Mass in 1987. His reading of Archbishop
Lefebvre’s masterwork “They have uncrowned Him” helped him a great
deal to understand the liberal and masonic principles behind the revolution
of Vatican II. He collaborated always more closely with the Society of
St Pius X. In 1996 he bought a big and beautiful church in St. Catharines,
Ontario, which he dedicated to the Holy Face of Jesus. He was called to
his eternal rest on March 30, 1997. Father Emily sang his funeral Mass
in that same church, which the Society of St Pius X has taken over and
serves ever since.
Paradis. Born the 7th of May 1907 at Beauport, near Quebec
City, Father Paradis was ordained a diocesan priest in 1933. He was curate
at several parishes in the diocese of Quebec, more particularly at the
parishes of the Holy Canadian Martyrs, and of Saint Roch. Later he was
pastor in the village of Saint Augustin, near Quebec City. After the introduction
of the New Mass, he took over the apostolate of Father Joseph d’Anjou
around the year 1975, offering the Traditional Mass in several rented
halls in Quebec City, the last and the most known of them being the one
on “rue Saint Paul”.
When Archbishop Lefebvre
consecrated four bishops in the historical “operation survival of Tradition”
in 1988, Father Paradis could not understand nor accept the decision of
the bishop of Ecône. A large part of the faithful wanted to stay with
the Society of St Pius X and so left the chapel at Saint Paul street as
soon as the Society could purchase the new and big property of Mgr Guay
Institute for orphans, in Levis, on the other side of Saint Lawrence River.
Father Paradis continued to say the Traditional Mass at the chapel at
Saint Paul street until his health compelled him to retire completely.
The Traditional faithful in the greater Quebec City area owe him gratitude
for having secured, alone, the Tridentine Mass for many years.
 Let us recall here that
the “Indult” of 1984 granted to the local bishops the permission to allow
the Traditional Mass in their dioceses in a limited way and at certain
very restrictive conditions, to be interpreted according to the good will
of the bishops. One of these conditions, still in force now, is that those
who request the Traditional Mass should have nothing to do whatsoever
with those who criticize and put into question the legitimacy of the New