Our History

Early 1930's

The first Catholic settlers arrived in the Valleyview area formerly known as “Red Willow Creek.” 

1937

Fr. Paquin, young priest who was quite a builder, initiated the idea of building the first church in Valleyview. 

1939

Mrs. Chamberlain donated land for the church to be built on. Logs were cut on the Gallivan farm and hauled to Mr. Tom Smith sawmill for sawing.  The finished product was hauled to town by Mr. Bill Velie by horse and sleigh. 

1940

The church was used for Midnight Mass at Christmas but very little after that.  It was eventually sold to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Reber who converted it to be their home.
 

1946 - 1956

Fr. Roue came back to Sturgeon Lake for the second time staying until 1966, where he and Fr. Tetreault, took turns in coming to say Mass in individual homes once a month.  When the population got too large for private homes the monthly masses were held in the Wm. Velie’s trucking office.

Because of the discovery of oil in the Valleyview area there was a population explosion that warranted the building of a new church.  In 1954-55 the main question was what size do we build?  

Land was bought from Mrs. Williamson and a church was built, now the food bank building. Upon completion it was blessed by Bishop Routhier under the patronage of St. Rita’s. The first resident priest for St. Rita was Fr. Jal who came in October 1955 and was replaced by Fr. LaRose in August of 1956. 

1957

Fr. Gendre arrived and being an energetic man, started to construct a better rectory by September 12 of that year which Bishop Routhier blessed on May 5, 1958.  He then obtained the services of  the Oblate Sisters of Nampa to conduct catechism classes in the parish during the summer.  

1959

Fr. Gendre was instrumental in getting the Valleyview Separate School Board established by December 18, 1959.  Once a gymnasium was built on the School Midnight Mass was said there as the church was too small. 

It was not long after that when Sunday Masses were said in the school as the church was too small.  Gendre was quite involved in all aspects of community life.
 

1965

Father Gendre was quite active in community affairs, one of which was an appeal to the Provincial Government for the establishment of a hospital for Valleyview, which was built in 1965.  

Father Gendre obtained the services of the order of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Cross to teach in the new St. Stephen's school.  Two of the sisters remained in Valleyview until they retired and continued to teach at St. Stephen's for many years. 

Early 1970's

St. Rita's Church caught fire.  By the grace of God, the fire department made it in time to save the building and most of the pews. Mainly the altar and the front of the church were destroyed.  

Fr. Gendre worked tirelessly to renovate the interior of the church, removing everything destroyed or damaged by the fire.  

He repainted the pews with numerous paints he had mixed together because there was not enough of any one colour to complete the job.  When he was done, the church was a pinkish tan hue.  It smelled like new paint but no trace of the fire remained!

After sixteen years of dedicated service to Valleyview, Father Gendre was transferred to Slave Lake and replaced by Fr. Richer. 

1977

Fr. Richer was moved to Falher and St. Rita's had no resident priest.  The Sunday Masses were said by Archbishop Legare from McLennan or Fr. Kinderwater from Grande Prairie.  

Then the Archbishop heard of a Polish priest who wanted to settle in Edmonton and persuaded him to come to Valleyview, which he did but only stayed for the weekend services and then returned to Poland. 

1978

Valleyview was again without a priest, so the Archbishop made a deal with the Bishop from St. Paul diocese and got Fr. Jacques Hamel.  Fr. Hamel served the parish until 1980, at which time he resumed his studies in Ottawa. 

During this time, plans for a larger church and rectory were underway.  A building fund had been started years before and money had been accumulated by fundraising activities of the Parish Council and the CWL. 

1979 - 1981

The church and rectory was built on 51st Avenue across from St. Stephen's Catholic School and it is still in use today. The land was purchased from Andy Rusten back in 1958.

Shortly after Fr. Hamel's departure, Fr. Louis Colin arrived from Spirit River.  St. Rita's was also blessed with the arrival of three School Sisters of Notre Dame.  Sister Anne, Sister Delia, and Sister Joyce began their ministry with the parish and the school.  

1987 - 1990

Fr. Desmond Bowler was transferred in and stayed until 1990. 

1990 - 1994

St. Rita's was blessed to be served by Archbishop Legare once again during the years of 1990-1994 while we were without a resident priest.

          Then, in 1994, Fr. Robert Fillion took up residence and ministered to the parish for a number of years before being transferred out.

1999

         Fr. Wes Szatanski from Poland became St. Rita's Parish priest and remained until 2001.  

2001

  Father (Msgr.) Charles Lavoie was assigned to our parish, his ministry was very much appreciated by the parishioners. After a number of years, Fr. Charles was called to other work in the Archdiocese.  

Priests who followed him in ministry to St. Rita's include Fr. Julien Benedict Mary, Fr. Sebastian Kunnath 

2011

Fr. Abraham Joseph Srambical was our priest until 2019.

Our History

Early 1930's

The first Catholic settlers arrived in the Valleyview area formerly known as “Red Willow Creek.” 

1937

Fr. Paquin, young priest who was quite a builder, initiated the idea of building the first church in Valleyview. 

1939

Mrs. Chamberlain donated land for the church to be built on. Logs were cut on the Gallivan farm and hauled to Mr. Tom Smith sawmill for sawing.  The finished product was hauled to town by Mr. Bill Velie by horse and sleigh. 

1940

The church was used for Midnight Mass at Christmas but very little after that.  It was eventually sold to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Reber who converted it to be their home.
 

1946 - 1956

Fr. Roue came back to Sturgeon Lake for the second time staying until 1966, where he and Fr. Tetreault, took turns in coming to say Mass in individual homes once a month.  When the population got too large for private homes the monthly masses were held in the Wm. Velie’s trucking office.

Because of the discovery of oil in the Valleyview area there was a population explosion that warranted the building of a new church.  In 1954-55 the main question was what size do we build?  

Land was bought from Mrs. Williamson and a church was built, now the food bank building. Upon completion it was blessed by Bishop Routhier under the patronage of St. Rita’s. The first resident priest for St. Rita was Fr. Jal who came in October 1955 and was replaced by Fr. LaRose in August of 1956. 

1957

Fr. Gendre arrived and being an energetic man, started to construct a better rectory by September 12 of that year which Bishop Routhier blessed on May 5, 1958.  He then obtained the services of  the Oblate Sisters of Nampa to conduct catechism classes in the parish during the summer.  

1959

Fr. Gendre was instrumental in getting the Valleyview Separate School Board established by December 18, 1959.  Once a gymnasium was built on the School Midnight Mass was said there as the church was too small. 

It was not long after that when Sunday Masses were said in the school as the church was too small.  Gendre was quite involved in all aspects of community life.
 

1965

Father Gendre was quite active in community affairs, one of which was an appeal to the Provincial Government for the establishment of a hospital for Valleyview, which was built in 1965.  

Father Gendre obtained the services of the order of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Cross to teach in the new St. Stephen's school.  Two of the sisters remained in Valleyview until they retired and continued to teach at St. Stephen's for many years. 

Early 1970's

St. Rita's Church caught fire.  By the grace of God, the fire department made it in time to save the building and most of the pews. Mainly the altar and the front of the church were destroyed.  

Fr. Gendre worked tirelessly to renovate the interior of the church, removing everything destroyed or damaged by the fire.  

He repainted the pews with numerous paints he had mixed together because there was not enough of any one colour to complete the job.  When he was done, the church was a pinkish tan hue.  It smelled like new paint but no trace of the fire remained!

After sixteen years of dedicated service to Valleyview, Father Gendre was transferred to Slave Lake and replaced by Fr. Richer. 

1977

Fr. Richer was moved to Falher and St. Rita's had no resident priest.  The Sunday Masses were said by Archbishop Legare from McLennan or Fr. Kinderwater from Grande Prairie.  

Then the Archbishop heard of a Polish priest who wanted to settle in Edmonton and persuaded him to come to Valleyview, which he did but only stayed for the weekend services and then returned to Poland. 

1978

Valleyview was again without a priest, so the Archbishop made a deal with the Bishop from St. Paul diocese and got Fr. Jacques Hamel.  Fr. Hamel served the parish until 1980, at which time he resumed his studies in Ottawa. 

During this time, plans for a larger church and rectory were underway.  A building fund had been started years before and money had been accumulated by fundraising activities of the Parish Council and the CWL. 

1979 - 1981

The church and rectory was built on 51st Avenue across from St. Stephen's Catholic School and it is still in use today. The land was purchased from Andy Rusten back in 1958.

Shortly after Fr. Hamel's departure, Fr. Louis Colin arrived from Spirit River.  St. Rita's was also blessed with the arrival of three School Sisters of Notre Dame.  Sister Anne, Sister Delia, and Sister Joyce began their ministry with the parish and the school.  

1987 - 1990

Fr. Desmond Bowler was transferred in and stayed until 1990. 

1990 - 1994

St. Rita's was blessed to be served by Archbishop Legare once again during the years of 1990-1994 while we were without a resident priest.

          Then, in 1994, Fr. Robert Fillion took up residence and ministered to the parish for a number of years before being transferred out.

1999

         Fr. Wes Szatanski from Poland became St. Rita's Parish priest and remained until 2001.  

2001

  Father (Msgr.) Charles Lavoie was assigned to our parish, his ministry was very much appreciated by the parishioners. After a number of years, Fr. Charles was called to other work in the Archdiocese.  

Priests who followed him in ministry to St. Rita's include Fr. Julien Benedict Mary, Fr. Sebastian Kunnath 

2011

Fr. Abraham Joseph Srambical was appointed. He was succeeded by Fr. Abraham Azhakathu mst until 2019.

2019

Fr. Michael Uso-Ereyi was assigned to St. Rita's following completion of his studies in Canon Law.

1.780.524.3425

4304-51 Ave, 
P.O. Box 248, 

Valleyview, Alberta, 
TOH 3NO