FSSP Ottawa Celebrates 50 Years

On March 3, 2018, St. Clement Parish, the FSSP’s apostolate in Ottawa, Ontario, celebrated half a century of service to God.

St. Clement Parish at the church of St. Anne

The story of St. Clement is certainly a remarkable one, and was made possible in large part by the generous actions of three consecutive Archbishops of Ottawa. The parish’s origins can be found with a small community of Catholics who gathered on Sunday, March 3, 1968, to hear the Latin Mass of 1962 with the permission of Archbishop Joseph-Aurèle Plourde at the Monastery of the Sister Adorers of the Precious Blood in Ottawa. In 1984, the community gained its first chapel, which was placed under the patronage of St. Clement, and in 1993, Archbishop Plourde’s successor, Archbishop Marcel Gervais, granted them their own church building and the rank of quasi-parish.

Interior of St. Anne, home of St. Clement Parish

At the invitation of Archbishop Gervais, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter assumed administration of the parish at the beginning of 1995, with Fr. Charles Ryan appointed the first pastor, and in 1997, the Archbishop erected it as a personal parish within the Archdiocese of Ottawa. In 2011, Archbishop Gervais’ successor, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, invited the parish to move into the beautiful and historic church of St. Anne, which at the time was in danger of being closed. The parish accepted the Archbishop’s invitation, and celebrated their first Solemn High Mass at St. Anne on Trinity Sunday in June of 2012.

St. Clement Parish is, according to available information, the first parish in the world after 1969 to be dedicated solely to the celebration of the traditional Roman liturgy. You can read more about its fascinating history on its website or by reading The Continual Sacrifice: A History of the Origins of Saint Clement Parish, Ottawa 1968-1998 by Bernard Pothier. A new, 50-year anniversary book is currently in production, and is slated for release in late 2018.

On Saturday, St. Clement Parish offered a High Mass in thanksgiving for their anniversary, on the same altar on which its first Mass was celebrated at the Sisters’ monastery all those years ago.

Our thanks to Mr. Ian Gallagher for his contributions to this article and for the pictures of the anniversary Mass.

March 9, 2018