Annunciation of the Lord Parish
- A Brief History -
Beacon Hill North Catholics attended St. Gabriel's Church from its inception in 1957 up to the appointment of Fr. Yvon Soucy on September 12th, 1971, as pastor of the Beacon Hill North Sector. He was succeeded by Fr. Gilles Lavergne in August 1976. Sunday Masses were celebrated in the auditorium of Colonel By High School, and one morning a week in various parishioners’ homes. In June of 1980, land off Ogilvie Road was purchased on which to build a new church.
A few months later, on November 30th, the parishioners elected to form a bilingual parish to be known as The Annunciation of the Lord Roman Catholic Church, and a four-year fund-raising campaign began. The ground was blessed by Archbishop Joseph Aurèle Plourde on April 28th, 1984. Shortly thereafter, construction on the new church began. The cornerstone was blessed by Pope John-Paul II on the occasion of his visit to Ottawa at the outdoor papal mass at LeBreton Flats on September 20th, 1984. The building was completed towards the end of 1984, and the first Mass was celebrated on Christmas of that year. Archbishop Plourde conducted the official blessing of the church on March 23, 1985.
During the early years, Fr. Lavergne had the assistance of Sr. Annette Langlois (1984-1985) and Fr. Michael Mullins (1985-1987), and the first secretary was Mrs. Yolande Lacombe (1981-1988). Many parishioners contributed generously to make Annunciation of the Lord the involved, active, diverse parish that it continues to be today. Much of the credit, of course, also goes to the succession of pastors that Annunciation of the Lord has been blessed with.
Fr. Gilles Lavergne (later Monsignor) was succeeded in August 1987, by Msgr. Peter Schonenbach who was pastor until 1993. When Msgr. Schonenbach left our parish, he was appointed briefly to Notre Dame Basilica after which he became pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Orleans. Msgr. Huneault then came to Annunciation as our parish priest for three years. In 1996, Archbishop Marcel Gervais appointed Fr. Richard Siok to succeed Msgr. Huneault.
During Fr. Siok’s tenure, several important developments occurred. In 1996, due to a shortage of bilingual priests, Annunciation became an English parish while St. Gabriel’s became a French parish. A newly ordained (June 14, 1997) Companion of the Cross, Fr. Marc Syrenne joined Annunciation as Associate Pastor. Deacon Marc Gauthier was appointed as the first deacon at Annunciation, later to be joined by Deacon Roger Amyot. Deacon Ed Webster also volunteered his services at our church. The NET Team was initiated by Fr. Siok in the fall of 2002, a venture that has had excellent repercussions on our youth up to this day. A Charismatic prayer group was also started to enhance the spiritual strength of the parish.
An engaging youth program and dynamic group of ministries continued to grow in the parish. Fr. Joe Vayalil joined the parish as associate pastor in 2000, replacing Fr. Syrenne. In 2005, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast appointed Msgr. Robert Latour as the new pastor of Annunciation, replacing Fr. Richard Siok who went on to St. Augustine’s. Deacon Will Read joined the pastoral team at Annunciation in 2009. Meanwhile, Fr. Joe Vayalil remained at Annunciation until 2009 at which time he was assigned to take on new responsibilities as pastor of St. Peter’s Parish. A memorable farewell concert was held, in which Fr. Joe performed on his violin.
Our parish was once again fortunate. As Fr. Joe left, Archbishop Prendergast assigned a new associate pastor to assist Msgr. Latour, a young, newly ordained priest, Fr. Jonathan Blake. Joining the parish in 2009 and bringing a youthful spirit to our church, he even initiated parking lot hockey games.
During Msgr. Latour's tenure, the church was consecrated on October 23, 2010, and two relics, those of St. Brother André Bessette and St. Marguerite d'Youville, were placed under the altar.
On July 31st, 2011, Annunciation of the Lord Parish said good-bye to both Fr. Latour and Fr. Jonathan. After fifty years of service, Fr. Latour embarked on a well-deserved retirement and was sent off in style with a parish barbecue. We also said “God Bless” to our youthful and popular priest, Fr. Jonathan Blake, as he finished his first two years of ministry and was assigned to Saint Pierre Apôtre parish in Hawkesbury, Ontario.
With the retiring of Msgr. Latour, Archbishop Prendergast announced that he was assigning two Companions of the Cross to Annunciation of the Lord. As a result, the summer of 2011 saw Fr. Yves Marchildon join Annunciation of the Lord as pastor and Fr. Jerry Gauvreau as associate pastor. As an added bonus, Fr. Terry Donahue of the Companions took up residence in the rectory at the same time. After many years with Annunciation parish, Deacon Roger Amyot was honoured at a parish barbecue, as he headed towards retirement at the end of July 2012.
Annunciation of the Lord Parish is richly blessed with many good things: the energy and engagement of our youth, the breadth of activities and involvement of our parishioners in ministries such as music and outreach, the dynamic roles played by our Catholic Women’s League, the enterprise and involvement of The Knights of Columbus (Council 8008), the quality of the pastoral team, and many other elements at work in our parish. May the Lord continue to bless us as a Catholic and apostolic community, faithful to Christ’s call to share His Good News with everyone.