About Our Parish

All Saints, Coquitlam
Jennifer Pecho

By the late 1950s, a growing number of Catholic families were living in the expanding District of Coquitlam. These families were primarily attending the nearest parish of St. Joseph’s, Port Moody. On October 11, 1961, Archbishop Duke erected a new parish “to be called ALL SAINTS” in the newly developed area of Coquitlam north of Austin Road. Fr. Albert Zsigmond was appointed as pastor of All Saints while remaining the pastor of St. Joseph’s, Port Moody, as well. With Fr. Zsigmond, approximately 100 families from St. Joseph’s moved to establish the new parish on October 29, 1961. Seven acres of land had been bought in 1960 north of Como Lake between Gatensbury and Schoolhouse Avenue but Mass was held at the Simon Fraser Health Unit on Poirier Avenue until the first building was completed on the parish site.

The Parish Hall was started in 1962 and was blessed by Archbishop on June 9, 1963. By then, nearly 300 families were attending Mass in the parish. The hall was designed as a multi-purpose building which included a rectory apartment, and a hall where Mass was held twice on Sundays and where other social events and classes took place. Parish activities also took place outside the Hall at Belcarra Park, Rocky Point, and Blue Mountain Park.

On March 21st, 1965, Father John Swinkels became Pastor of All Saints so that Fr. Zsigmond would not be required to further divide his time between the growing All Saints and St. Joseph’s. Fr. Swinkels ushered in a time of further and extensive growth in the parish. He established a building funding-raising team to raise money to increase the size of the parish institutions and weekly Bingo to help raise those funds. In 1969, Fr. O’Grady arrived for just over one year in the parish and was replaced by, then, Fr. James Stewart in 1971. Fr. Stewart renovated the Hall to create more room for religious classes and arranged for the building of a separate rectory.
Fr. Desmond McGoldrick arrived in 1974 for two years and was able to start the ball rolling on building a new church for the parish. Fr. Harry Clarke was pastor from 1976 and 1980 and continued with the planning and fundraising for the new church which began construction in late 1979 and would be completed and blessed in April of 1980 in time for the return of Fr. McGoldrick to the parish in July of that year.

In the mid-1980s, Fr. McGoldrick oversaw a number of repairs and renovations in the Parish Hall. In 1985, All Saints began running Our Lady of Lourdes School and increasing enrolment lead to the desire for All Saints to establish their own parochial school. Queen of All Saints parochial school came into being following a parish referendum in 1996, when All Saints Parish constructed the new school adjacent to the church.

A year later, in 1997, Fr. Vincent Hawkswell arrived at All Saints where he remained until 2005 and oversaw the construction of the new school and the beginning of fundraising efforts to create a new Parish Centre to replace the existing and aging parish hall. In 2005, Fr. Tien Tran arrived and remains there to this day.

The parish of All Saints has always been dynamic and involved in the community. Many of their societies have been in existence since the inception of the parish including the Knights of Columbus (1964), the CWL and Holy Name Society (1967), the Parish Youth Club (1975), the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (1985) and the 55 + group (1993). In 1976, the Parish began holding an Annual Community Festival which in 1991 was included as part of the City of Coquitlam Centennial Celebrations given its importance to the community.