The Christian Community began September 25th, 1960

In the autumn of 1959, a group of people from Faial, an island of the Azores, helped to organize a community picnic. This was in response to the needs of the Portuguese people to socialize with their fellow countrymen. Surprised with the success of the event, the organizers tried to repeat again other social and cultural gatherings. Such enthusiasm helped to lay the foundations of the first Portuguese Church. These people from the Azores, who recently immigrated to Canada, brought with them a very strong practising catholic faith as well as other religious traditions.

On Sundays they mingled with other Canadian Catholics attending Mass in the local churches. When the Pastors welcomed the parishioners at the churches, they had to meet and welcome these new arrivals with Mediterranean semblance. The issue was one of communication as the Pastors did not speak Portuguese and the Portuguese did not speak English. These simple immigrants were very hard working people, and wherever they went in town were known as the Portuguese.

As the Canadian people had never really heard of Portugal, they looked to a world map to see where on the globe it was located. That small strip of land at the Atlantic Sea, in Europe, looked to be more like a small province of Spain and they did not know anything about the Azores islands. The Canadian Catholics were just accustomed to hearing of Fatima. This became the flag for the identification of Portuguese residents here. Are you from Fatima they asked?

The Bishop of Hamilton, Joseph Ryan, became concerned about the pastoral needs of this new community which still had people arriving in different cities and towns of the diocese. He decided to request, through the Apostolic Nuncio of Lisbon, the pastoral ministry services of a Portuguese priest. The Rev. Father Antonio Cunha arrived in the Hamilton Diocese on the 5th of June, 1960. Instructed by the Bishop Joseph Ryan about his pastoral duties, Father Cunha started his ministry with the Portuguese Community in the city of Hamilton.

Father Cunha, weeks later, by the invitation of a friend in Hamilton, travelled on a Sunday to the town of Galt. There he met Ernesto Rebelo, a well known pioneer of the Portuguese community, who worked at a local steel foundry with other labourers from the Azores. It was then that the relationship started with the local Portuguese Community. The Portuguese soon demonstrated, through an enrolment of 200 families, a strong will to have a Sunday Mass by a Portuguese Priest in Galt.

The Bishop made arrangements to find a place for the Sunday Mass for the Portuguese community. Father Ford, who at that time was the Pastor of Saint Ambrose Church, allowed the use of the hall in the church basement for the Sunday Portuguese Mass. On September 25th, 1960, the first Mass for the tiny Portuguese Congregation in Galt (Cambridge) was celebrated by the Rev. Antonio Cunha. A nascent Faith community was established in the country and it also established itself as a social and cultural community.

Christianity came to light in a stable...The Catholic Portuguese Community was founded in a basement hall.

Our Immigrant hymn

SENHORA DOS IMIGRANTES

Música e letra:
Irmãos Pedro e Paulo Alvito, Lisboa.


Senhora, que vais p’ra tão longe
Com Teu Filho pela mão
Levas a dor da alma
E a esperança no coração


Côro:
Por que também nós, deixamos a nossa terra
Construimos nova vida, tão longe...
Por que também nós, queremos dizer ao mundo
Que Cristo vive em nós, tão perto...


Senhora, nós Vos louvamos.
Senhora, Vos bendizemos
Nesta nossa oração
Queremos-Te acompanhar! (bis)


Senhora queremos cantar
Aqui do nosso lugar
Teu exemplo sem senão. (bis)
Esquecemos Teu sofrer
E, acabaste por vencer
Tendo Cristo pela mão (bis)


Our Future

Our future is hidden Among the vast forests of our soul. Our future is waiting Among the depths of our ocean

One's future is own self You create your future Run through your ocean, And you will find yourself You and your future

Istiur Rahman

Our Community Future.

I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following. - Mahatma Gandhi.

The Our Lady of Fatima Parish Community will never be as it was in the beginning. As we see the years have passed, half of a century of the story is already completed and now it is turning to an end. Not just yet, because we are still alive and engaged in the developments and projections for the future.

The Our Lady of Fatima Parish Community will never be as it was in the beginning. As we see the years have passed, half of a century of the story is already completed and now it is turning to an end. Not just yet, because we are still alive and engaged in the developments and projections for the future.

Mahatma Gandhi once said: The future depends on what we do in the present.

The community or ethnic group is like the human body; there is a time to grow, a time to mature, a time to die and dissolve into infinity. The new Portuguese-Canadian generation has become integrated and successful in different professions, trades and academic careers. This was the reason their parents, being people of faith, wisdom, solidarity and hopes, left their own country and came to Canada: to build a better future, not only for themselves, but for their children.

The mission is being accomplished!

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