Jesus Light of the World Parish was created by the merger of two former parishes, Saint-David and Mary Queen of Peace. Both of these former parishes, established in Pierrefonds in the 1960’s, were vibrant communities. They were the spiritual homes to many families, the center of countless sacramental celebrations, places of laughter, dynamic social activities and a spiritual support to many people. Both parishes were officially French but offered English religious services. As we know, life and society changes. After a long and arduous process of consultations starting in 2006, a merger of the two was finalized on September 12, 2010, during the Episcopacy of Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte. A request was made that it’s new official status be bilingual. This was accepted, and so, along with Saint-Luke’s Parish, it became the second officially bilingual parish of the Montreal diocese.
Choice of name
The name of this newly merged parish was selected after six months of consultation with parishioners. Over one hundred potential names were proposed. This was reduced to six, and then the parishioners were invited to vote on their favorite name. The top three names were forwarded to the Cardinal for his final choice. He selected, « Jesus Light of the World ». That same week, an elderly parishioner handed the pastor a Christmas decoration she found on the front steps of the Mary Queen of Peace building. It was a plastic star with the words: « I am the Light of the World, Jesus ». Providential confirmation?
The name, « Jesus Light of the World », is biblical. This is unusual for Catholic parishes. Generally, Catholics choose a saint’s name for their spiritual home, in order to invoke the intercession of this sanctified individual. Their Saint’s Day becomes the Parish Feast. Our name choice reflects the biblical sensitivity of our pastoral teams. We have chosen, as Feast Day, Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit exploded His missionary grace upon the world.
The Catholic church, throughout the world, is divided into dioceses, or chunks of land. Some dioceses are relatively small, and others are huge, like some dioceses in northern Canada which comprise hundreds of kilometers. A parish is a fraction of diocesan territory, pastored by a parish priest and his leadership teams. It has a name as well as a legal status (in Quebec). Most parishes have a church building and it is usual that the church building, and the parish territory have the same appellation. However, it is not unusual in many countries that parishes have no church. People meet and pray in an auditorium or even outside as in parts of Africa. More recently in Quebec, because various parishes are merging, the parish territory and the church or churches on the territory no longer have the same name. This is our case. Our territory in Montreal covers the Borough Pierrefonds-Roxboro area from St. John’s Boulevard to Sunnybrooke Boulevard, and the Dollard-des-Ormeaux area east of Sources Boulevard.
Our parish bears the name of Jesus Light of the World, but it has two edifices: St-David Church, and Mary Queen of Peace Church. The distinction between a parish and a church can sometimes cause confusion. Mary Queen of Peace Church and the rectory are now the Parish Centre. More recently, Jesus Light of the World has been working in pastoral cooperation with Saint-Suzanne Parish. Saint-Suzanne is an instance of a territory, with no church building. Their church was sold to the Melkite Catholics in 2011, and since then those parishioners have been renting space for their religious services. Saint-Suzanne, established in the 1960’s is another product of the multiplication of church buildings which occurred in those years. Saint-Suzanne has been a vibrant and dynamic Catholic community for many decades. Established as a French parish, offering English services, it supports the Catholic life of many families. It was served by many wonderful parish priests since its inception.
The pastoral team of Jesus Light of the World is supporting the parish life of Saint-Suzanne and the two are presently working pastorally cooperatively. The same staff serves both parishes.
Jesus Light of the World parish, and Saint-Suzanne have established their common mission to bring as many people as possible to Christ and into friendship with one another. In a deeply divided society, we pray to be instruments of hope, peace, and joy.