“History was made in Stittsville on Friday, April 1.
The new Ecole secondaire catholique Paul-Desmarais in Stittsville held its first student and staff mass at Holy Spirit Catholic Church on Shea Road, with students and staff arriving there for the 1:30 p.m. mass after walking along the Trans Canada Trail from Robert Grant Avenue and Abbott Street where the school is located to the church on Shea Road just south of Abbott Street. It took the students and their teachers about 15 to 20 minutes to travel the one kilometer-plus distance from the school to the church.
An Ottawa Police Service cruiser, with its emergency lights flashing, was on hand at the traffic circle at Abbott Street and Robert Grant Avenue to ensure that the students were able to safely cross over Abbott Street to the Trans Canada Trail as they left the school in groups.
At Holy Spirit Catholic Church, the over 200 students and staff were welcomed by principal Veronique Pourbaix-Kent who reminded everyone of the significance of the occasion as this was not only the school’s first group mass since the school occupied the new facility on Abbott Street at the beginning of February but also was the first mass celebrated in French at Holy Spirit Church.
Rev. Jean-Francois Morin from St. Remi Parish in the Pinecrest area officiated at the mass. A number of students had roles associated with the celebration of the mass, with students serving as announcers, as those leading the singing and as those who took gifts to the front of the church at the offertory section of the mass.“