|I often find myself thinking how our faith community of St. Clare of Assisi began and how it continues to grow on a daily basis. St. Clare of Assisi Parish was founded on the feast day of St. Clare on August 11, 1995. The community began celebrating Sunday Mass at St. Clare School in Weston Downs on Sunday September 24, 1995.|
|My first impression, of the task in hand, of creating a new parish was that the work involved would be astronomical. At first, the building of the community was very slow and at times difficult to understand but with the new year of 1996 things were finally moving. We began by forming the much needed pastoral ministries which would assist at our weekend liturgies and help the parish spiritually. Every weekend, we would transform the school gym into our Church and try to the best of our ability to create an atmosphere of prayer. During these early days of our journey, we tried to focus on what the community really wanted to achieve and for that reason many a meeting was held to decide our course of action. If I can recall correctly, the general consensus, was that St. Clare's be a prayerful place where people would feel welcomed. We also discussed, at great length, what the architectural design of the Church should be and where it was to be situated. After many meetings with the ratepayers of Weston Downs a site for the new Church was finally chosen.|
The Church would be built north of Rutherford Road on 6.4 acres which the Archdiocese of Toronto would purchase. What was now our challenge was to raise the needed funds to entertain the thought of building our new Church. With this in mind, we formed two very important groups to assist in the process of building. The first was a parish pastoral council and the second a fundraising committee to put in place a capital campaign.|
These two groups worked hand in hand to prepare what was needed to be done in order to arrive at our desired goal. It took five years of hard work, fund raisers and knocking on the doors of both parishioners and of local businesses before the community could receive permission to build from the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese gives permission to build when the parish has raised 50% of the construction budget. But to build we also needed to have a design and architect Nino Rico was hired to assist the parish in this important task. Mr. Rico and myself along with the consultants Ander Engineering, and Enersys Engineering worked together in preparing the preliminary drawings for the new Church.|
|The new Church design was of a traditional look with a Franciscan flair. It would have a bell tower and cascading roofs giving it a feeling of Assisi where St. Clare was born. To the west side of the Church, the parish hall would be built on the same elevation as the Church and to the east the parish offices and rectory. The total footprint of the Church would be of 36,559.62 square feet.||
It took more that two and a half years to arrive at final working drawings. With drawings in place and our fund raising moving ahead it was time to build. On Sunday November 14th, 1999 we invited our regional bishop, His Excellency Anthony Meagher to joined us for a candlelight procession from the school to the Church site in which we erected a wooden cross on the property. This was our first walk to the site and it was truly exciting! A year later, we invited His Excellency Bishop Robert Clune, to bless the ground breaking ceremony which was held Sunday April 20, 2000. The construction of our new Church commenced the next day April 21, 2000 when Mr. Italo Zeppieri and his employees began excavating to prepare for the footings of our new Church. To construct the Church, the community turned to the expertise within our own parish. A delegation from the Parish arranged to meet with the representatives of the Archdiocese and we were granted permission to build the Church on a project management basis. Legal documents were prepared and S.C.A. Building 2000 Inc was incorporated with Mr. Galliano Tiberini as its President and Celeste Iacobelli, Sam Ciccolini, Silvio De Gasperis, Andrew Famiglietti, George Zanette, Salvatore Mannella as the balance of the directors. S.C.A. then proceeded to hire Lee Brown to direct the project on a day to day basis. This group of volunteers dedicated themselves with spirit and a lot of faith to the enormous task of building a large and intricate structure. They worked selflessly with the Archdiocese, with the municipality, with trades and suppliers.
With the enormity of the construction now behind us, we reflect on the path and guidance provided by our Lord and the wonderful opportunity we were given to work in community to create a truly magnificent tribute to the splendour of God and our faith.
The doors of our new Church of St. Clare of Assisi finally opened on the wet, snowy evening of February 23, 2003 welcoming our community to our new pastoral home. And seven months later, our community celebrated the consecration of the Church along with a special breakfast to give thanks. On Tuesday September 23, 2003, Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic officiated at the thanksgiving Mass for the consecration of St. Clare of Assisi Church. This was an evening well attended by neighbouring priests, parishioners, and benefactors of our Church. The next morning at 6:30 a.m. the trades and their workers were invited for breakfast in thanksgiving for their dedication and hard work. A brief prayer service began in Church, and then breakfast was served in the parish hall. More than 300 attended and the parishioners both young and old served the breakfast. The atmosphere was truly wonderful and much appreciated by the attendees.
St. Clare of Assisi Church and its prominent bell tower now stand as a testimony to the Catholic faith in Vellore Village. The Church is located at the corner of Saint Clare Boulevard and Saint Francis Avenue, commanding an impressive view from Rutherford Road and can seat 1100 worshippers. Its brick and pre-cast façade blends well with the homes in the surrounding neighbourhood. The community is formed of young families with children who bring much life and joy to the worship experience. Many neighbours of the Church specifically bought their home because they wanted to be close to the Church and were enamoured with the sound of the bells which ring every day from noon to 9:00 p.m., starting with the Angelus and then ringing in the hours. The bells, which were purchased from Elderhorst Bells, were named Saint Alfredo, Saint Antonio, and Saint Arcangelo - the first names of the De Gasperis brothers who donated them. St. Clare of Assisi has an architecture which makes a statement, with its appointed attention to detail, quality of materials, and workmanship. The community knows that this superior level of construction could never have been attained, if not through the great help and contributions of many individuals and companies. Messers. Vic de Zen and Fred De Gasperis were our major contributors along with many others to whom our community is truly grateful. Mr. Manfred Gingl donated the copper cupolas of the two towers and the 15 foot cross which stands as an illuminated beacon of faith on top of the 34 metre bell tower.
The interior of the Church is finished with wood, brick, granite and tile floors, all of which combine perfectly with the light that filters through the 29 stained glass windows which were salvaged from St. Augustine of Canterbury Parish in Montreal. In addition, we also have a stain glass window of St. John Eudes which was donated by Ed Mirvish and which was originally situated at Sacred Heart Seminary in New Brunswick before Mr. Mirvish purchased it for Ed's Warehouse. The main altar in the Church, weighs 6 tones, and comprises 5 blocks of limestone, and marks the place were the community offers it's Eucharist. The 15 Stations of the Cross, which remind of the passion of Jesus Christ, are the work of Laura Paccamiccio, a young artist from Assisi and these were donated by Domenic and Mary Santaguida and their family. Just recently, the statues of St. Vincent Ferreri, St. Rosalia, St. Francis of Assisi, St Clare of Assisi, St. Joseph the Worker and the Sacred Heart arrived from Bolzano, Italy from the studio of A. Senoner Tinderla, from whom they were commissioned. At the entrance to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel stands a statue of the Blessed Virgin holding the child Jesus in her arms.
Our Blessed Sacrament Chapel is hexagonal in shape and has a painting by artist Carlos Nunes entitled "Our spiritual journey towards eternity" donated by the De Meneghis Family. In the Church proper, there is also the mosaic of the ninety-nine sheep and of the Good Shepherd, which is the work of artists Luigi Nasato and Mario Della Rosa. The roof trusses and the British Columbia Fir for the ceiling of the Church were supplied by Giovanni Guglietti of Tamarack Lumber at a greatly reduced price. The 150,000 bricks needed for the building of the Church were donated by Joseph Zamparo and Joseph Alfano from Century Brick, and the masonry work was done by Ericon Masonry under the supervision of Vaughan Masonry. Finally, the building has exceptional acoustics and Allen Organs who sold us a three manual organ are very pleased with how their instrument works with our design. The crown Mouldings which were installed in the Church were the generous gift of Ned Santarossa of Canamould and the surfacing supplied was from Du Rock. The frames for the windows of the Church are a simulated wood finish on aluminium were fabricated and donated by Gian Franco De Marco of Toro Aluminium.
I would like to conclude by thanking all those companies which contributed in making St. Clare of Assisi Church such a special place of prayer and gathering. In particular the following companies:
A.R.G. Group, Acquacon, All Can Doors & Hardware, Allencia Furnishings (pews), Alpa Lumber, Ander Engineering, Antica Ceramics, Ariscraft, Enersys, Automated Interiors, Baron Metal Industries, the law firm of Presta Bianchi, Blue Circle, Borgo contract seating, Burrell Overhead Door, Canamould Extrusions, CBM, Century Brick, Chislett Roofing, Ciot Marble & Granite, City Kitchens, Clearway Construction, Con Drain, Con Steel, Con Strada, Croma Painters, Devland Consulting, Dolente Drain, Doorland 2000, Drain Tite, Du Rock, Dynamic Tile, Eagle Precast, Elderhorst Bells, Eletrix Plumbing, Ericon masonry,
Exterior Surfacing, F.E.D. Construction Management (donated wood framing labour costs), Fazzari & Partners Accountants, Fellmore, FM Enterprises, Futureway communications, Global Precast, Han Stained Glass, Hannigan Engineering, Hunter Pneumatics, J.D. Barnes, Julia Genova Interior Design, Lucebella, Luxury Plumbing & Tile Centre, Magic Lite, Marel Contractors, Mariani Steel Fabricators, Martin Daniel Interiors, Masters Insurance, Mayfair Electric, MBS Steel, MDF Mechanical, Metrus Developments, Mid Northern Woodwork Mircom/Gardia, Mirriam Organs, Nino Rico Architect, Nivaga, PineValley Landscaping, Prestige Exteriors, Quality Kitchens, Randal Brown & Associates, Reliable Food Service Equipment, Selba, Selective Ceramic,
Steeles Paint, Stonework (Nick Colella), Sun Project, TACC,
Tamarack Lumber, Torapp Food equipment, Toro Aluminum (who donated all the windows), Trane United Floors, United Rental, Vaughan Masonry, Venetor, Via Disposal, Weston Flooring, Wrought Iron Art, York Marble, Zetra Excavating
To those whom we may have missed, our apologies. Please know that our hearts and prayers are ever grateful for your efforts and generosity.
Rev. John Borean
SCA 2000 Inc. Board of Directors