The dedication came while Pope Francis called for prayers for intercession of the Blessed Mother.
In a report from Our Sunday Visitor, Andrew Ehrkamp explained that the 17,000-square-foot building was dedicated by Bishop William McGrattan, who pointed out that this new Marian shrine was so named while Pope Francis was leading the world in prayer for the Blessed Mother’s intercession in the world coronavirus pandemic. Bishop McGrattan told Ehrkamp:
“In many ways our diocese, under the patronage of Mary, we should have a shrine church,” Bishop McGrattan said. “We should have a place in which people, not only in our own diocese but throughout the world and in Canada, can come as they come to the Rockies to see nature’s cathedral. They can stop and they can pray and they can experience the great presence of God who comes to dwell in our midst in these humble abodes that we build.”
Because the dedication took place while churches were still closed to the public, the parish was forced to live-stream the event so that the congregation could witness the installation of the new house of worship. The Mass is still viewable on the Diocese of Calgary Facebook page, along with some photos of their beautiful interior and eye-catching stained glass window.
The stained glass is a point of pride for the Father Nathan Siray, pastor of Our Lady of the Rockies Parish. The custom-designed colored glass panels portray Mary with toddler-aged Jesus, sitting beside a stream in the Rocky Mountains. Of the work, Fr. Siray told OSV:
“The window cries out to you ‘Rocky Mountains,’ and there is Our Lady in the midst of that. That’s kind of our No. 1 devotional image to Our Lady of the Rockies that is completely unique to this building.”
On their website, the church was happy to announce that they would be open for public Mass once more on June 5. Due to the reopening guidelines, as set by Alberta Health Services, all who wish to attend are required to sign up ahead of time. This is as much to prevent the crowds from getting too large as to keep track of who was in the church in case of an outbreak. Their sign-up page offers Mass at 12:15 every weekeday, with afternoon and evening Masses on weekends.
They also offer guided tours of their new grounds. Those who wish to take a tour must similarly sign up in groups of no more than 10. Tours are scheduled daily, and safety precautions should be observed (i.e., masks, gloves, distance). Those interested in a tour must sign up on the website; they will not accept walk-ins at this time.
Visit the Our Lady of the Rockies Church website for more information.
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