St. Mary's Church

Cochrane, AB

"The Spirit Flows Through Us"

St. Mary's celebrates its "125th ANNIVERSARY" in 2020. The book, "St. Mary's Centennial Celebration 1895-1995" is now accessible in digital form so you can catch up on our history!! Find the book, "100 Years" in the menu at the top of this page.

NEWS FLASH: Outdoor Mass planned for St. Mary's Cochrane (in the parking lot) on SUNDAY, AUGUST 16th 10:00 am

Stage 2 DIRECTIVES from Fr. Dennis and the Diocese :

We can now accommodate 70 parishioners at Mass effective Saturday, June 13th.

Social distancing will still be required, keeping a list of congregants in attendance, along with AHS entry questions, and sanitizing after each Mass. Wearing masks is not required during the Mass, ONLY if/when receiving Communion.

REMEMBER, you must pre-register with the parish to confirm your attendance at Mass (weekday or weekend) at Please note that you don’t need to be registered with Flocknote to sign up for Mass.

Resuming Public Masses—Notice from the Diocese

Click on the Bishop's picture on the right to VIEW his message.

Click HERE to watch a video on the distribution and reception of Holy Communion (Stage 1)

And Click HERE to access the FAQ regarding the Stage 1 restoration of Mass and Communion (May 29, 2020).

NOTE : To access the live-streamed Weekday and Sunday Masses from the Diocesan website , go to

Father Dennis Vavrek, ofm OR contact him at the Parish Office: 403-932-2944

FOR EMERGENCIES: call Mount St. Francis Retreat at 403-932-2012 OR call Fr. Dennis' cell at 780-668-0145


The State of St. Mary’s Parish since March 15th, 2020

We were all living happily ever after and things were going smoothly in the parish … and then a pandemic came to visit us and the “we were living happily ever after” was quickly shut down. Everything - and I mean absolutely EVERYTHING - came to a screeching stop. Without much warning there were no Masses, no meetings, no house blessings, no school visits or celebrations, no Family Fun Night, no parish dinners, NO NOTHING! All activities were abruptly cancelled - not postponed or rescheduled - but CANCELLED! To be honest, I was okay with the ‘no meetings’ part, but the rest of the cancellations were a bit hard to take.

If the question, “What has been happening in the parish since Fr. Dennis’s day off was changed to Sunday?” has been on your mind, then this report is for you.

    • Regarding parish programs: RCIA, RCIC, and Bible Study were moved to Zoom meetings. The final session for First Eucharist preparation was directed through emails and completed at home. Confirmation preparation was also completed through social media.

    • All parish communication - through the parish bulletin, the parish website, Facebook and the Flocknote newsletter – is now online and happening thanks to the time and talent of our parish communications team (Charlene Marcille, Sharon Mogen, Donna Wasson, Blossom Braganza, and Darryl Goyetche). Emails and letters were sent out, and a robocall was made (Note: I can’t believe I was talked into this one!) to encourage all parishioners to keep in touch with their spiritual home through social media.

    • Charlene spent a great deal of time and energy cleaning up the parish list. A superficial cleanup was done a couple of years ago, but this second effort was more thorough. There are now 857 families registered in the parish, a decrease of about 70 families. However, please keep in mind that there are more than 200 Catholic families in the parish area who are not registered in the parish. The reason we know this is that they have received tax receipts for donations and/or registered their children for sacraments, but have not registered in the parish for whatever reason.

    • In place of boring homilies Deacon Ron and I have been sending out weekly messages through our social media channels.

    • Eucharistic adoration was moved into the worship area, and was scheduled twice a week, Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10am to noon.

    • Laureen MacKenzie has been coordinating a mask making ministry. Countless masks were made for front line workers and over 400 have been made for the parish as we get ready to reintroduce Masses. A super-thank you to Dawna Delainey, Heather Gosselin, Daisy Button, Estela Dziadyk, Sue Lunnin, Sandra Orchard, Ann Richards, Sylvia Simpson, Mary Ann Rossetti, Nathene Arthur, and many others for sewing masks.

    • Ron Gosselin, a parishioner and the president of the local Kiwanis Club, donated a large pail of hand sanitizer to the parish.

    • A major office and storage cleanup was undertaken since Covid-19 hit. Walls and cupboards were washed, and filing cabinets were sorted through. Not everything on the list was completed, but a lot was accomplished during the enforced lockdown.

    • A lot of time and energy was put into reworking the financial budget. The pandemic, and the resulting economic impact, was new territory for all concerned regarding parish finances. A welcome surprise was the Bishop’s announcement to the parishes that the 14.5% assessment on parish income to support the diocesan structures (Note: this is often called the “cathedraticum”) and mortgage payments were suspended for the rest of the year. But because of this lost income stream to the diocese, two-thirds of the pastoral centre staff were temporarily laid off. Parishes were also asked to downsize on staff and cut back on expenses because of lost revenue. To this end our custodian, Joseph, was given a temporary layoff, and I took a 50% cut to my salary. The parish now has one and a half salaries in the office, with Charlene (29 hours per week) and Greg (10 to 12 hours per week; although he often puts in countless hours per week quietly doing other stuff) and little ol’ me, your half-time pastor. PLEASE do not view my decision to cut my salary as heroic. It’s really not my salary, but a Franciscan salary (Note: I can’t have a personal salary), so there was no great sacrifice made on my part. My Franciscan community can absorb the loss of half my salary at this time, so don’t start thinking about sending any canonization paperwork to Rome with my name on it.

The parish budget and finances are a major challenge to manage right now, mainly due to so much uncertainty over what to expect for income from month to month. I would like to express my deepest appreciation to all the parishioners who contribute electronically through e-transfers, debit, and credit cards, or continue to send in or drop off their regular Sunday offering. The financial support, which pays the bills at your spiritual home, is greatly appreciated. I know that many of you are experiencing financial difficulties at this time, so your continued support and thoughtfulness are especially noted. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

Donna Wasson, our parish bulletin editor, sent me an email about a teacher and holy sister she knew who would often invite people to manage the daily grind “with Christian enthusiasm.” This is a great thought to keep in mind as we struggle to cope with the negative effects of this Covid-19 pandemic.

Peace and all good,

** PARISH SUNDAY OFFERINGS . . . During the pandemic, our faith community needs us even more. Please remember to keep supporting our parish with weekly or recurring donations. Offering envelopes may be dropped off in the receptacles provided at the church when you come to Mass. Or you can support the parish through online giving. See information in the Bulletin from Greg Braganza (accountant for St. Mary's). There is also a plan for sending donations to our parish at

St. Mary's Virtual Choir (a "trial")

Message from Nathene Arthur, our Choir Director: "Here is our first “Trial” Virtual Choir song for St Mary’s . . . just a few regular choir members, some visible, and some not! Even Deacon Ron made a guest appearance." See what you think . . .

Up Next: A July "Virtual Choir" (Your help is needed . . .)

“Morning Has Broken”is our July 2020 Virtual Choir song.

Deadline to send in your video contributions of time and talent (yes, you!!) is July 31st. PLEASE INVITE FRIENDS AND FAMILY, AND OTHER PARISHIONERS TO JOIN IN.

You are invited to video yourselves singing WITH the backtrack to the song, "Morning Has Broken." THE PRACTICE TRACK with the melody line highlighted with starts and stops (so we all stay together even better) will appear HERE LATER THIS WEEK so that you can get practicing. You will need to wear a headset or ear buds.

When you are ready (and before July 31st) please send your videos to: and copy them to me (Nathene) at

And Then: An August "Virtual Choir" (Again we need your help)

Parishioners, family, friends are invited to video themselves singing WITH the backtrack to the song, "Let There Be Peace." THE PRACTICE TRACK with the full accompaniment AND the vocal line highlighted (so we all stay together even better) will appear HERE LATER THIS WEEK so that you can get practicing. You will need to wear a headset or ear buds.

Once you've video-taped yourself (before August 31, 2020), just send the file to Lisa Bettenson at and copy to Nathene at

Stay tuned!

Need Someone to talk to?

Deacon Ron is available for anyone who would like to talk with him Wednesdays or Thursdays between 1 pm and 3 pm. Call the parish office at 403-932-2944 to set up an appointment for a chat.

Fr. Dennis is available for Confessions or just to talk. Please call him to make an appointment 403-932-2944. Fr. Dan is covering for Fr. Dennis from June 29 – July 17.

If you need help . . .

– GREAT NEWS!! Here in the parish there are two groups/teams available to help the most vulnerable and those who are stranded due to the impact of the coronavirus, including those who have been asked to self-quarantine. If help is needed, reach out to one of the groups/teams mentioned below to run errands, do your grocery shopping, and/or pick up prescription drugs.

– Lean On Us —

– Charitable Pandemic Response Team—


WEEKEND Masses (Pre-register at

  • Saturday: 4:00 pm

  • Sunday: 10:00 am and Noon

WEEKDAY Masses (Pre-register at

  • Wednesday at 7:00 pm BUT 9 am STARTING AUGUST 12TH

  • Friday at 9 am.

Please see the directives outlined above for the gradual resumption of Masses at St. Mary's Cochrane. ALSO: live-streamed daily Masses and/or Sunday Masses can still be accessed from the Diocesan website during the COVID-19 pandemic at:

CONFESSION-Fr. Dennis is available to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, or if you just need to talk. Please call him to make an appointment. 403-932-2944.

EUCHARISTIC ADORATION is held on Tuesdays and Saturdays 10 am - noon. A seat may be reserved at

Mission Statement: We are a community of faith trusting in God's love, open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit working within each member, attempting to model ourselves on Christ, and called to serve Him in others.


Find us just south of the town center and east off Hwy 22 at James Walker Trail & River Heights Drive, Cochrane, Alberta. To get "traditional directions" click HERE.

Address: 10 River Heights Drive, Cochrane, AB, T4C 0N8

Phone: 403-932-2944

Note: Postal Code on map is incorrect!


  • Mon. – Thurs. 8 am - 2 pm;

  • Fri.: 9 am - Noon

  • Closed All Stat. Holidays

New to the Parish?

  • We extend a warm welcome to new parishioners. Please take a moment to fill out a printable or online NEW PARISHIONER REGISTRATION FORM. Registration will ensure you're included in Parish communications. If using the printable form, you may scan and EMAIL or FAX (403-932-4587) to our SECRETARY or just drop the hard copy into the collection basket next time you're at Mass.

  • For a brochure explaining CATHOLIC STEWARDSHIP (Time, Talent, Treasure), click HERE.

  • A MINISTRY is a great way to become actively involved in our parish community. For more INFORMATION on our ministries, click HERE. To volunteer in one of our parish ministries, click HERE for an online or printable VOLUNTEER/STEWARDSHIP sign-up form. Complete and return the printable form by placing it in the collection basket at Mass or drop off your form at the Parish Office.