About St. Mary's
St. Mary’s Parish, which borders the downtown region of the city of Ottawa, Ontario, has experienced a unique renewal over the past twenty-five years. This renewal coincided with the arrival of Fr. Bob Bedard in the fall of 1984 and the founding of a new community of priests, the Companions of the Cross in May of 1985.
Fr. Bob Bedard came to St. Mary’s as pastor after serving for several years as a leader in the Charismatic Renewal Movement. With a mandate from then Archbishop Plourde, Fr. Bedard began preaching and implementing a vision for parish renewal which was built on the priorities of evangelization of the baptized through personal conversion and spiritual renewal, openness to the gifts and action of the Holy Spirit, dynamic liturgical worship, lay ministry, and outreach to the poor and alienated.
Within a few years after his arrival, and coinciding with the foundation of the Companions of the Cross, St. Mary’s Parish experienced a profound transformation. Mass attendance exploded as people began joining the parish from across the city. The Sunday liturgies, in particular the 11:00 a.m. mass, became known for its joyful and enthusiastic celebrations. New ministries were started and multiplied including a very active and flourishing youth ministry, Life in the Spirit seminars, door to door evangelization, and small Christian communities.
Under the subsequent pastoral care of priests who have all been members of the Companions of the Cross, St. Mary’s has continued to promote a vision of ongoing personal and corporate renewal in the power of the Holy Spirit. With a membership which is predominantly from outside the geographical boundaries of the parish St. Mary’s has continued to reach out and draw people from across our region.