Over 100 gathered for the 200th anniversary of Fraser Lake’s St. Andrew’s Catholic Church on Oct. 28.
Celebrating their 35th, 45th, 50th, or 55th wedding anniversary, six couples also renewed their vows at the potluck feast hosted at Fort Fraser Community Hall.
Sharing their vows to dedicate themselves to service on April 11, 1816, Eugene de Mazenod and Paul Henri Tempier were one of the first priests that travelled through northern B.C. to reach the Yukon Territory in 1872.
“As missionaries, Oblate priests and brothers are not afraid to travel to remote communities, giving their lives for the people entrusted to their care,” said Therese Stafford, president of the Catholic Women’s League in Fraser Lake. “Most of these dedicated men are not specialist in any field except in facing urgent needs within each community.
“And I must say, I haven’t met an Oblate who didn’t like my Hungarian cabbage and rice.”
Celebrating his 35th year of ordination, Fraser Lake’s Father Vincent James presided over the vow renewals of Marlene and Fernando Silva, 35th, Yvonne and Tom Thalheimer, 45th, Dini and Jim Foote, 50th, Sandra and Archie Patrick, 50th, Heddy and Karl Schulz, 55th, and Jose and Pat Hurley, 55th.
Vancouver-based Father John Brioux, district animator for associates in B.C., and Father Andy Takach of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Prince George also attended the celebration.
Post-dinner entertainment was provided by Kathleen, Therese, and Mathias Steiner, Elizabeth Schultz on the piano, Monique Roy and Yvonne, as well as Martin Louie and Ken Luggi.
Joe Steiner, attending the celebration with his family, was baptized by Father Coccola, one of the first priests that settled in the Nechako region during the late 19th century.
Born and raised in Fraser Lake, Steiner’s last memory of Coccola was the priest’s visit to LeJac.
“He was in his later years, walking down the hall, hand behind his back,” Steiner recalled.
“I’ve been here my whole life and I’m not tired of it.
“I’m pretty lucky; we have five children and three of the boys live closeby.”