Language policy

Policy Statement

In the French-speaking Catholic parish of Saint-Thomas d'Aquin, religious celebrations of a community nature and gatherings of a parish nature are conducted in French, in accordance with the parish's unique cultural mission and particular linguistic raison d'être. (See history below.)

To ensure the parish's raison d'être and Francophone vitality over time and from generation to generation, administrative operations, religious celebrations and community life are conducted in French.

All celebrations of sacraments and special religious events within the framework of specifically parish gatherings are held and lived in French.


History and specific purpose of the parish

St. Thomas Aquinas Parish was canonically erected by the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton on December 2, 1960.

It was the tenacious commitment and hard work of French-speaking Catholic families in southeast Edmonton, assisted by the Oblate Fathers of Mary Immaculate, that led Archbishop J.H. MacDonald to accept the request to establish a Francophone parish in the Bonnie Doon neighbourhood.

In a context where the English language is strongly predominant, Saint-Thomas d'Aquin Parish was founded to ensure the continuity of Catholic faith life lived in French for all generations. It continues to exist only for this reason.

It is one of only two French-speaking Catholic parishes currently surviving in Edmonton.


Special circumstances

For celebrations and gatherings of a more family than community nature, at the request of the family, a slight exception may be made to the fundamental principle set out above.

Some parts of the celebration could be done at a minimum in English or another language... at a wedding, funeral or private baptism, for example.

However, most of the celebration will have to be held in French. And the Gospel will always be proclaimed in French.

Some aspects could be done in French and English or another language depending on the circumstances, such as eulogy, homily and universal prayers, for example.

Some aspects could be in English only, or in another language, depending on the circumstances... such as some songs, a Bible reading - other than the Gospel - and the psalm, for example.

The Eucharistic Prayer should be in French.


Good practices in support of participants who do not understand French

The family could provide translation of some or all of the texts into French, in a participation booklet for participants or guests to the celebration who do not understand French.

The priest and/or celebration leader could use brief summaries in English, depending on the circumstances, to accompany people and assembly participants who do not understand French.

On the occasion of a death, the family may decide to hold a family gathering and prayer vigil at the funeral home before the funeral Mass, if they think that a celebration predominantly in English would be desirable.


Personal Provisions

The leaders of Saint-Thomas d'Aquin parish will always be happy to accompany individuals, families and groups who request to celebrate religious events and services in the parish.

Parish leaders hope that individuals, families and groups requesting religious services at Saint-Thomas d'Aquin Parish will kindly accept the parish's particular linguistic and cultural mission and operating environment, as well as the linguistic and cultural choice of its members.

If someone would prefer to live a religious event mainly in a language other than French, the parish officials would be happy to help them contact an English-speaking or other parish to obtain the service. In fact, there are several Catholic parishes that offer and provide services and celebrations in English in southeast Edmonton.

Note: In this document, masculine terms used to refer to persons include both women and men. They are used only to simplify the text and are not discriminatory.

Adopted unanimously by the Parish Pastoral Council (CPP) of Saint-Thomas d'Aquin Parish on May 20, 2015.

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