Cloverdale’s Precious Blood Catholic parish recently celebrated its diamond jubilee.
The parish turned 75 this year and the milestone was marked Oct. 14 by a special Mass and celebration at the church.
Michael Miller, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, along with pastor Fr. Paul Chu and many former priests, celebrated a commemorative Mass at the church and attended a reception in the Cloverdale Catholic Parish Centre.
During his homily, Archbishop Miller read out some of the history of the parish and asked congregants to pray for its future.
“Let us pray … this parish will continue to flourish and be the spiritual and life-giving home for Catholics in Cloverdale.”
He recalled the parish’s mission statement when he added, “A community of faith journeying together to serve one another.”
Three of Precious Blood’s former pastors attended the celebration: Fr. John Tritschler, Fr. Mark Bautista, and Fr. Anthony Ho. Fr. Rodney Nootebos, who grew up in the parish, also attended as did Deacon Raul Abella.
The Cloverdale Catholic School student choir provided the music for the special Mass.
Afterward, 200 people gathered for a party in the parish hall. This surpassed the 50 or so members that formed the Parish at its founding.
Precious Blood was founded in 1947 by Fr. Patrick O’Sullivan and construction was finished on the original church building three years later. In 1950, then Archbishop W.M. Duke blessed the newly constructed church.
The budget for the old church was just under $43,000. It was only completed through the generous donations of labor and material by parishioners.
The land for the Parish was donated by locals Arsene and Audelie Lavoie, and the original parish rectory had been used by their daughter to teach Scottish classes and ballet classes.
Seven years after the construction of the church, Cloverdale Catholic School was built. Initially, all parishioners were expected to help pay for tuition regardless of whether or not they had children at the school.
Classes were originally taught by a collection of volunteer teachers along with some religious women from the Sisters of Notre Dame.
The current church was constructed in 1979, which is the same year the Knights of Columbus Cloverdale Council #7276 was granted its charter.
Over the years the Parish has been known for bingo nights and talent shows and old newspapers have announcements for dances that used to be held in the school gym.
The parish chapter of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society has been at the core of the parish’s charitable outreach since 1985.
Precious Blood is currently home to around 900 families.