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Friday, July 12, 2024

Monsignor DeSantis' health was beginning to deteriorate, but he had overseen the completion of the expansion, so that St. Angela Merici Church could once again properly accommodate and serve its parishioners.

His failing health finally forced his retirement in 1960. At a testimonial dinner held in his honour, and sponsored by all the societies of the church, almost a thousand parishioners and friends gathered at the St. Angela Merici Youth Centre to pay tribute, and to bid farewell to a spiritual advisor and counsellor. Monsignor DeSantis subsequently returned to stay with relatives in New Jersey, where he would pass away in 1964.

1960 saw the arrival of the Missionary Fathers of St. Charles, also called the Scalabrini Fathers. The first Scalabrini pastor was Father Ugo Rossi, and it was he who would be instrumental in arranging to have a convent house established for the Sisters of the Holy Family.

The Sisters of the Holy Family arrived in 1963. They operated the parish nursery school and assisted with the pastoral care of the parish. The Sisters of the Holy Family left circa June 1998/1999.

The Scalabrini Fathers presided over the adoption of the new liturgy instituted by

Nativity scene at St. Angela Merici Church with Fr. Lino Santi and Fr. Giovanni Bizzotto, 1985.  Courtesy of St. Angela Merici Church, P10545
P10548 - Sister Giuseppina, Sister Benedetta Zicco and Sister Rosaria Impellizzeri. Courtesy of St. Angela Merici Church
Nativity scene at St. Angela Merici Church with Fr. Lino Santi and Fr. Giovanni Bizzotto, 1985.  Courtesy of St. Angela Merici Church, P10545
P10537 - Distribution of the San Giuseppe bread, May 18, 1980. Photo by S. Bonanno, Courtesy of St. Angela Merici Church,
Vatican II; church renovations were undertaken to bring the altar closer to the people; Italian or English was substituted for Latin during the Mass; and community singing and increased participation in the Mass followed.

Father Umberto Rizzi was instrumental in founding the Coro Italiano di Windsor, the official representative of the local Italian community at many multi-cultural events.

La Voce Italiana, a half hour program, in Italian, of religious and cultural information, news and music airing on CHYR Radio on Sundays, was first started by Father Raniero Alessandrini in 1969.

The remodelling of the church in 1975 completed the physical changes to the interior of the church brought about by the new liturgy. The remodelling culminated with the arrival from Italy of woodcarvings of the Risen Christ and Last Supper, which would be used in the altar area.

In 1989, in order to better meet the needs of our parishioners, an elevator was installed in the bell tower of the church. As St. Angela Merici Church celebrated the 50th Anniversary of its founding, a major building renovation program was undertaken. Included among the renovations and improvements were the installation of new stained glass windows, new pews and carpeting, and a new carved wood background around the altar area.

The Scalabrini Fathers have, for the past twenty-nine years, been charged with administering to and serving the spiritual needs of the parish. The nursery school, youth groups, choirs, senior citizens association and countless other parish groups and societies have prospered and flourished under the guidance and support of the Scalabrinis who, in their work, continue to promote and maintain the spirit of the founder of the parish, Monsignor Costantino DeSantis.

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The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.


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