History of St. John Vianney Parish

In March 1979, Bishop Adam Exner, Bishop of Kamloops Diocese, asked Father John Doetzel to start a new parish in Kamloops because he felt the needs of the God's people could be better served through smaller parishes. On March 4th, 1979 Father Doetzel celebrated the first Mass in Westsyde utilizing the Anglican Church of Cleopas on Westsyde Road. The Church of Cleopas was used for Sunday Mass for approximately 2 years. A home was purchased at 3055 Bank Road which served as the priest's residence, parish office, daily chapel, and religious education centre. It was decided to name the parish St John Vianney after the patron saint of the diocese and Monseigneur John Miles.

Father John Doetzel realized the importance of getting the people involved in "their" parish and thus appointed a steering committee as a forerunner to Parish Council. The steering committee in turn decided that the item of most importance was a home of our own, on the property at 2826 Bank Road purchased by Bishop Harrington many years before. Therefore, they appointed a Building Committee chaired by Victor Salvatore. This committee worked unceasingly until we were able to celebrate our first Mass in Phase 1 of our complex on Easter Sunday, April, 1981. The first phase consisted of the gym, Friendship Room, classrooms and Kitchen. The rectory was also part of this phase, so the original rectory was sold.

In December 1988 a major upgrade was done to our gym and complex corridors with the installation of floor tiles and painting of the walls. Father Dunn was the driving force to get our debt paid off on Phase 1 and started our Building fund for Phase 2. In January 1988 we celebrated a mortgage burning for Phase 1

Slowly but surely with hard work and prayer, our New Church was finally completed and consecrated on Thanksgiving Day, October 14, 1991 by Bishop Lawrence Sabatini.

> Fr. Doetzel's  Feb. 22, 1979 letter… first pastor's letter to first parishioners
> Bishop Exner's Feb 19, 1979 letter to Fr. Doetzel


St John Vianney – our Patron Saint

Feast day August 4th. St John Vianney, Cure of Ars is the patron saint of parish priests and one of the best known modern saints." If you want a diocese to be converted", he once told his Bishop, "then the parish priests must become saints." His life was the best example of what one holy priest can do. He was the 4th of 6 children of a peasant family in Dardilly, France. With only a few months of formal schooling ill childhood, he began at 18 to receive private tutoring from the pastor of a neighbouring parish in preparation for the seminary. Studies were hard. As his Latin was hopeless, the major seminary at Lyons dismissed him; but his old tutor, convinced of his piety and spiritual prudence gave him a private course in theology from a French manual. He was ordained at 29. In less than 3 years, he was sent to Ars, a village of 230 people, about 25 miles north of Lyons.

His approach to the apostolate, was the Gospel formula of prayer and fasting to which he \, added tireless work. He ate barely enough to keep alive, being mostly boiled potatoes for the first six years. When there was no other duty, he could be found in the church. When asked if his sermons were long, one informant answered, "Yes long ones. There are some say there is. no hell, the Cure Cur believes in it." Ars had for some time been just a mission of a neighbouring parish, and the few who came to mass were mostly elderly women. Gradually the pastor's influence was felt. Sunday work, drunkenness and dancing stopped. In ten years the town was transformed, and stories of remarkable conversions and cures had begun to attract outsiders. He coutd foresee the future and read people's thoughts. Saints and sinners came for advice. Daily for the next 30 years there were generally some 300 people waiting to go to confession or have some contact with the Cure. A special booking office in Lyons issued tickets which were good for I week, because a person could not be sure of seeing the Cure and returning home in less than that. A regular coach ran between Ars and the nearest station in Paris. He would come out of his rectory at about 1:00 in the morning, walk the 30 yards to the church and ring the angelus as a signal that he was ready for confessions. At 7:00 he would offer Mass. His thanksgiving over, he would return to the confessional, emerging at 11:00 to give a catechism instruction, then go to dinner which took no more than 15 minutes. After a visit to the sick, he would return to the confessional, coming out again for evening prayer. He then retired to his rectory for no more than 3.or 4 hours sleep. He died in Ars at age 73. When the priest brought viaticum the dying saint murmured,

It is sad to receive Holy Communion for the last time