Albertville Parish’s Centennial a celebration of community

Photo from the St. James Parish Facebook page. The Roman Catholic Parish of St. James in Albertville will be celebrating a century this weekend.

The Roman Catholic Parish of St. James in Albertville will be celebrating a century this weekend.

The church is a centre of the community and organizers have created an event that will celebrate both the Village of Albertville and the church’s Centennial. Leo Gignac is the Parish Chairperson and helps run the Knights of Columbus in the community. He said the Parish has a long and proud history.

“The celebration is all centred around the church, which is the monument of Albertville,” Gignac said. “(It’s) what we are known for. The first mass in our church was celebrated in August of 1922, so it’s a Centennial celebration—the occasion being the church—but it’s really a family and community get together, with the old folks coming back to the community.”

The event has drawn people with deep connections to the area. Attendees were already starting to settle in Friday afternoon, including one person Gignac met who lived in Albertville 80 years ago.

Gignac said faith had a lot to do with creating a tight-knit community. As a longtime resident, he’s glad for the chance to celebrate.

“I’m pretty proud of our community,” he explained. “I’m pretty proud of our church family and I love carrying on what our grandfathers started for us. I hope that the next generation after we are gone can keep it up.

“I am just so happy with the community. The volunteers that we have are all great. We have got volunteers that are volunteering to help us that haven’t been here in 50 years that are coming back and saying, ‘can we do something to help you guys?’ It’s just a chance for the community to get together with the past.”

Gignac said they’ve done a lot of work around the community to keep it going strong. For example, earlier in the week roughly a dozen people gathered to wash headstones in the graveyard by the church.

“They just added life to the graveyard,” he said. “We can see writing. A lot of the graves are over 100 years old, and that we didn’t know of.”

On Friday throughout the day campers were parked and a fire pit set up for a meet and greet evening. On Saturday, the celebration opens with a parade in Albertville at 9:30 a.m. The theme is “The Old Days.”

Gignac said they’ve been looking for plenty of “old stuff” to help with the celebration.

“We have got lots of antique cars, tractors, combines coming in,” he explained. “We have got antique motors that are going to go on display.”

The antique tractors and cars will be on display for people to admire, and they’re owners will be available to talk about them until at least 4 p.m. or 5 p.m.

After the parade, there are four family teams competing in a fun ball tournament. There will also be horseshoes, volleyball, bouncy castles and the playground for the children.

“The kids under the age of 10 won’t be bored,” Gignac said.

They will also have historical displays open through the entire weekend, including at the Innovation Centre, and the museum.

“People brought in photo albums, family history books, displays you name it,” Gignac explained. “I have been out at that museum and I can tell you it would take probably a week to cover it all.”

There are fireworks Saturday, and before the fireworks anybody with historical stories to tell will be invited to do so at a podium by the fire pits.

“Nothing too formal,” Gignac said. “I think there are a couple of families are putting on a few skits around the campfire.”

The Canteen is open all day on Saturday as well.

Sunday opens with the church service at 10 a.m. led by Bishop Stephen Hero of the Diocese of Prince Albert and parish priest Father Jim Kaptein who is celebrating his last Sunday mass because of a change in leadership.

There will also be three children receiving confirmation. Following the mass will be a Parish picture out on the deck and steps.

“We are hoping for as many people as possible and I think we will have lots,” Gignac said. “From what I have seen so far I think we will have a great crowd this weekend.”
Following the picture is a free pancake breakfast served by the Knights of Columbus from roughly 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

There is adoration and then the blessing of the graves in the graveyard at 2 p.m. for all of the ancestors and pioneers.

At 5 p.m. on Sunday there will be a traditional French supper that Gignac believes is already sold out. The meal includes pea soup, tourtiere, salads, buns and dessert along with the Centennial cake.

This is followed by an old-fashioned variety night inside the church itself.

“They figured it would take at least two to three hours to get through that program,” Gignac said. “We have got a really good program and it’s all local talent. There is nothing coming out of Hollywood or anything like that, so it should be good.”