Main timeline

September 1964:        The Parish is established, Douglas Cardinal is commissioned as the architect.

June 26, 1966:             Sod turning ceremony.

November 1968          Completion of construction and first Mass celebrated.

December 8, 1968:      Consecration of the Church by Most Rev. Anthony Jordan, Archbishop of Edmonton

December 1995:          Completion of the Parish Centre

September 13, 1997:   The Great Crucifix, by German sculptor Alois Marx, is Blessed by Archbishop Joseph MacNeil.

Fall 2008:                     Rosary Garden is completed and Blessed.

Dec 08, 2018                50th Anniversary of the Official Opening and Blessing of the Church


St. Mary's Pastors

Fr. Werner Merx, OMI            1964-1979

Fr. Norman Bordage, CSC      1979-1981

Fr. Paul Kingston, CSC            1981-1983

Fr. Hugh MacGillivray, CSC   1983-1993

Fr. Gottfried Seifert, SAC        1993-2000

Fr. Erik Riechers, SAC            2000-2002

Fr. Joseph Dephoff, SAC        2002-2005

Fr. Paul Kavanagh                  2005-2008

Fr. Les Drewicki                      2008-2015

Fr. Len Cadieux                       2015-2019

Fr. Miroslaw Kostarzewski  2019-Present


Parish History

 A Brief Parish History

  • Before the official establishment of St. Mary’s Parish on September 6, 1964, members of the clergy from Sacred Heart Church in Red Deer arranged to provide spiritual guidance to the parishioners living within the bounds of what was to become Red Deer’s second parish. In the beginning it was unofficially known as St. Thomas parish, probably because Masses were celebrated in the gymnasium of St. Thomas School.
  •  The full and proper name of St. Mary’s Church is the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
  • Fr. Werner Merx was appointed the first pastor and superintended the construction of this unique building.
  •  Planning for the Church began in the fall of 1964 by commissioning Douglas J. Cardinal as the architect.           Mr. Cardinal was born and raised in Red Deer and St. Mary’s was the first major project of his professional career.  
  •  Mr. James T. Morrisroe donated three acres of his farmland for the building of the Church.
  •  The sod was turned for the beginning of construction on June 26, 1966 with completion of construction in November of 1968.
  •  The total cost of the Church, exclusive of land and fees, was approximately $360,000.00. Over the years improvements and upgrades have been needed to maintain health and safety standards of the building, including the removal of the asbestos coating on the ceiling and its replacement with the existing sealant. The parapets and roof have also been replaced.
  •  The church has a seating capacity of 650, which can be augmented with additional chairs for seating capacity      of 720.  The Parish Hall can add another 300 on special occasions.
  •  Most Rev. Anthony Jordan, O.M.I. Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Edmonton consecrated the Church on      December 8, 1968 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary) on its official opening.
  •  The church has been described as being warm, sheltering, protective, inviting and free flowing. 
  • Father Werner Merx, then pastor, was quoted as saying, “The intention is to bring everyone closer to the altar and closer to each other.
  •  In the early 1990’s parishioners began the task of raising funds for a parish centre. The needs of the faith community went beyond celebrating the Mass together on a daily and weekly basis. It was decided that in order to accommodate the growing needs for meeting space and gathering space for social and educational opportunities, a Parish Centre was needed. After considerable deliberation, the contract for design of the project was awarded to Group 2 Architects with the explicit instructions that the new design must complement and blend with the original architecture. In 1995 construction began on the project, which was completed and blessed on December 17, 1995.
  •  The parish centre has added a new dimension to the life of the parish and helped the community to grow and prosper. Meetings, social gatherings, education and catechetical instruction make the parish centre a beehive of activity throughout the week and the year.
  •  German artist and sculptor, Alois Marx, added permanent artwork to the church over the course of 3 summers.     The Great Crucifix took about 400 hours to create. The cross is made from two fir logs. The body or “corpus” was fashioned from two large yellow cedar logs. It is 6.5 meters high and weighs about 3500 lbs.  Mrs. Jeanne Depalme and her family donated the materials for the artwork in memory of her husband, Frank Depalme.    Archbishop Joseph MacNeil blessed the completed artwork on September 13, 1997.
  • December 8, 2018 was the 50th Anniversary of the Official Opening and Blessing of the Parish. Fr Les Drewicki, with staff ,parishioners,and many family and friends helped to make this Celebration a success. 
  • Michael Dawe from the Red Deer Express wrote a brief History on the Parish at the end of December 2018.
  • The design of the church enhances the worship space by bringing all members of the congregation into close proximity to the altar, which is the centre and focal point of our liturgy and of the prayer life of the community.
  •  The parish continues to grow due to the hard work and dedication of the clergy and the committed members of the parish who treat the church not as a building, but as a family of believers. As we continue to grow in faith and love, the church building takes on the aura of the community it houses.
  • If you are interested in obtaining more details on the history of the church building and of the Parish, they can be found in certain booklets available in the Parish Office.  Feel welcome to ask for them!


St. Mary’s Parish welcomes all who enter and

hopes that all will share their gifts and prayers in this worship space.