Star of the Sea Parish


In the early 1920's, Ed and Jeanne Duprez were concerned about not having a Catholic Church or religious education for their children. They felt that the occasional Sunday Mass in their home was not enough. They and other Catholic families turned to Oblate Father Maurice Le Pine for help. Father Le Pine and other Oblate missionaries had, for many years, been serving the Native people at the little St. Ann's Church on the Semiahmoo Reserve. From then on the project went quickly ahead with the donation of a parcel of land by Mr. Letourneau, complete with a good log house at the corner of Pacific and Fir St. Mr. Duprez remodeled it a bit and added a room for living quarters at the back. The first Star of the Sea church came into being in the summer of 1923 with seating accommodation for 20 people. The church was dedicated to Mary, Star of the Sea by Rev. Timothy Casey, O.M.I. Archbishop of the Vancouver Diocese on May 4, 1924.

As the congregation grew, a larger church became necessary. The Star of the Sea Church was constructed close by the site in the early 1940's. It provided space for 150 people and on May 6th, 1946, the Star of the Sea became a parish on its own with the appointment of Father John Collins as pastor.

Built in 1942, the Holy Cross Church in Crescent Beach later became a mission church of the Star of the Sea Parish. Archbishop Duke had the church built because the congregation became too large for him to accommodate in his summer home on the beach. The church was blessed in July 1946. At the time, Archbishop Duke offered Mass in the church every morning to the faithful. Now Holy Cross Church serves year round residents with a weekly Sunday mass.

In 1953 Father Joseph Franks became the pastor followed by Father Beatch in 1967, Father Leon Kotsko in 1972, Father Haffey in 1976 and then Father James Fagan in 1978. Father Fagan had numerous priests assist him from time to time. Father George Thuout, a priest on leave from Saskatchewan Diocese (for health reasons), was an unofficial assistant for 25 years. Father Thuout served the community generously with hospital and home visits and helping to preach the Catholic Faith until he died in 1993.

Fr. Richard Hanley and Fr. Jack Molloy, the brother of Miss Mary Molloy, a long time resident of the parish, assisted Father Fagan for several years.

Our first official Assistant Pastor was named in 1991, Father Donatus Ekenachi, a priest from Africa. Father Gary Franken, replaced Father Ekenachi as Assistant Pastor and served for two years. Fr. Bede Kim Le joined our parish in August of 1994 to take over from Father Gary.

A new pastor came in 1997 when Fr. Stanley Galvon replaced Fr. Fagan, who retired. Fr. Jim Wolnik on loan from Minneapolis-St. Paul, assisted for one year. Next came Fr. James Hughes (1998-1999), Fr. Gino Aloisio (1999- 2001), Fr. Justin Trinidad (2001-2003) and Fr. Mario Fernandes OCD (2003 -2005). In July 2010, Father Edwin Kulling became Assistant Pastor. He was joined by Assistant Pastor, Father Kiran Thumma in August, 2011. In July, 2012, Father Kulling was assigned to St. Michael's Parish in Burnaby, BC and Fr. John Tritschler was assigned to Star of the Sea as Parochial Vicar.

The growth of population on the Semiahmoo Peninsula in the 1980's led to the building of the Good Shepherd Church. This church accommodates 800 plus people, contains the parish offices, meeting rooms, a kitchen, a large central multipurpose space we call the "Area of Welcome" and an adjoining rectory.