The Maronite Catholic families have been living in Calgary for many years and generations, with the Melkite and Syriac congregations. There had previously been no Maronite Church to serve these families. A number of priests had tried to establish an official Maronite Catholic Community in Calgary but were unsuccessful in their efforts.
In 1990, the families made a special request to His Excellency, Joseph El Khoury Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Montreal, Canada. To send a priest to celebrate a Maronite mass and be available in case a family member passes away, or a new infant is to be baptised, or a couple is to get married according to the Maronite Rite. Msgr Feghaly was a retired priest in USA who came for a short time to serve before he passed away after doing a funeral mass in Edmonton. After that His Excellency responded by sending Father Esper Antoun to both Calgary and Edmonton to serve both communities at the same time. Shortly thereafter, he was designated as pastor of the Maronite communities of Calgary and Edmonton.
In 2000, the Calgary Maronite community began to gather for Sunday mass at St. Bernard’s Parish. During this time, the community members hosted parties and bake sales, and held other fundraising efforts in order to raise money to obtain their own church. The last mass performed by Father Esper at St. Bernard’s Parish was in 2006. By this point in time, the church community had purchased their very own church, “Saint Gabriel Anglican Church,” where they first celebrated a Good Friday service and Easter Sunday mass. Father Esper continued to watch over both communities in Edmonton and Calgary, alternating the times of service and often travelling back and forth between the cities two or three times every week!
On December 30, 2006, His Excellency, Joseph El Khoury, dedicated the church as “Our Lady of Peace,” thereby officially recognizing the Maronite Catholic Parish of Calgary.
In April 2008, Deacon Michel Kassas began his one-year deaconate under the guidance of Father Esper. On February 15, 2009 at Our Lady of Peace in Calgary, under the presence of His Excellency, Bishop Joseph Khoury, Deacon Michel was ordained into priesthood. Father Michel celebrated his first mass as priest at Our Lady of Good Help Church in Edmonton on February 22, 2009.
After more than 10 years of dedicated service to both Maronite parishes of Calgary and Edmonton, Father Esper was named pastor of Our Lady of Peace in Calgary. In addition, Father Michel was named pastor of Our Lady of Good Help Church in Edmonton, where he continued to serve the community through the Maronite Catholic Rite.
In May 2010, father Esper returned to Lebanon. At this time, Father Michel was covering both Maronite Parishes in Edmonton and Calgary.
In November 28, 2010, Father Michel was appointed as pastor of Our Lady of Peace in Calgary.