The founding of St. Maurice
St. Maurice was one of a wave of parishes founded in the 1960s as the population of the western suburbs soared. Located in the area known as Cityview, the new parish was in fact created in tandem with St. Monica’s in the Merivale area, though the administration of the two new churches was to be kept completely separate as noted in Archbishop Lemieux’s decree of February 7, 1964.
The name of St. Maurice was chosen in honour of Archbishop Lemieux’s patron saint. The first pastor was Father Orloff Dorion. Mass was at first said in schools until a church could be built on Meadowlands Drive.
Construction began in December 1964 and was completed in time for the first mass on September 5, 1965. The church was blessed by Archbishop Lemieux the following year on February 5, 1966. In 1994, the parish completed paying off its mortgage. This now permitted the permanent consecration of the church, a ceremony carried out on September 18 by Archbishop Marcel Gervais.
A brown brick structure, the church has a feeling of spaciousness and provides good sight lines with its theatre-like sloping floor.
The Martyrdom of St. Maurice
St. Maurice was an officer of the Theban Legion of Emperor Maximian Herculius’ army, which was composed of Christians from Upper Egypt. He and his fellow legionnaires refused to sacrifice to the gods as ordered by the Emperor to insure victory over rebelling Bagaudae. When they refused to obey repeated orders to do so and withdrew from the army encamped at Octodurum (Martigny) near Lake Geneva to Agaunum (St. Maurice-en-Valais), Maximian had the entire Legion of over six thousand men put to death. To the end they were encouraged in their constancy by Maurice and two fellow officers, Exuperius and Candidus. Also executed was Victor (October 10th), who refused to accept any of the belongings of the dead soldiers. In a follow-up action, other Christians put to death were Ursus and another Victor at Solothurin (September 30th); Alexander at Bergamo; Octavius, Innocent, Adventor, and Solutar at Turin; and Gereon (October 10th) at Cologne. Their story was told by St. Eucherius, who became Bishop of Lyons about 434. Some scholars doubt that an entire Legion was massacred; but there is no doubt that Maurice and some of his comrades did suffer martyrdom at Agaunum. Feast day – September 22nd.
Prayer to St. Maurice
Saint Maurice, most blessed and honourable patron saint, you who fought so valiantly on the battlefield of faith, steadfastly opposed the tyranny of earthly rulers, boldly confessed faith in the one true God, and preferred to die by the sword rather than to betray your Lord, Jesus Christ, pray for us.
O holy martyr and loyal soldier of Christ, obtain for us the courage to persevere in truth, to be a light in the darkness of the times in which we live, and to defend the honour of the Church wherever it is opposed. Obtain also for us the grace to endure patiently all the trials and hardships of this life, and to carry our cross in the spirit of prayer and self-denial. In particular we ask you to obtain for us from God the following favour: [mention your special request].
We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord. Amen.