Father Cyril Okabanama, S.M.M.M.

Father Cyril’s inspiration in becoming a priest emanates very simply from the love of God and humanity. As a young Nigerian child, Cyril was a mass server and member of the block Rosary (those that gather every evening to recite the Rosary). This incited Cyril in becoming a priest so that he could continue serving God and His people in a special way.

Father Cyril came to Canada on mission, with the agreement of his congregation and that of Monsignor Mulhall, bishop of Pembroke. Father Cyril deeply enjoys celebrating mass in Canada. He also finds great gratitude in hearing confession because this gives him the joy of helping people reconcile with their God, which he finds essential in our worship of God.

Father Cyril wishes to encourage his parishioners and the general public to keep loving God and their neighbours. He says, “those who put their trust in God are like mount Zion -  they cannot be shaken and they stand forever. No one should ever forget that to be near God is the greatest happiness.”

Father Cyril and Deacon Foster
Deacon Tim Foster
Father Cyril Okabanama, S.M.M.M.

Father Cyril’s inspiration in becoming a priest emanates very simply from the love of God and humanity. As a young Nigerian child, Cyril was a mass server and member of the block Rosary (those that gather every evening to recite the Rosary). This incited Cyril in becoming a priest so that he could continue serving God and His people in a special way.

Father Cyril came to Canada on mission, with the agreement of his congregation and that of Monsignor Mulhall, bishop of Pembroke. Father Cyril deeply enjoys celebrating mass in Canada. He also finds great gratitude in hearing confession because this gives him the joy of helping people reconcile with their God, which he finds essential in our worship of God.

Father Cyril wishes to encourage his parishioners and the general public to keep loving God and their neighbours. He says, “those who put their trust in God are like mount Zion -  they cannot be shaken and they stand forever. No one should ever forget that to be near God is the greatest happiness.”

Father Cyril and Deacon Foster
Deacon Tim Foster

Deacon Tim Foster is originally from Cochrane, Ontario. He settled into Astorville, Ontario in 1986. Together with his wife, Suzanne, they have raised a beautiful family of four children, and now have three grandchildren. Tim worked as an Ontario Provincial Police officer for most of his working career. He is also an avid sportsman, having been involved in hockey as an OHL referee for a number of years and now regularly trains for half-marathon running. Tim used to spend much more of his time at the hockey rink, but now says that the church is his new devotion. He sincerely enjoys contributing to the parish and seeing the members of our community grow in their Catholic faith.

OUR HISTORY
Sainte Bernadette
  • In 1881, Ste-Philomene’s Chapel was first erected on the shore of Lake Talon. The contract was
    awarded to Mr. Ulric Harnois. On April 4, 1886, during his visit, Monsignor Lorrain decided the new location of Ste-Philomene’s parish would be at the foot of Lake Nosbonsing, in the farming
    settlement of Bonfield. A church was built at the cost of $3,233.00. The first resident priest was
    Reverend Father Thomas-Georges Gagnon, 28 years of age.

  • In 1905, the church was destroyed by fire. A new church was rebuilt on Gagnon Street a year later
    and was renamed Ste Bernadette.

  • In 2002, the church was in need of significant renovations. These were made possible by
    fundraising efforts and community support, to maintain the architectural beauty of the Lord’s house.

  • In 2006, Ste Bernadette celebrated its 100th anniversary, a significant milestone in its history. By
    His grace and mercy, the parish has been sustained over the past one hundred years as a
    community of faith and discipleship, centred upon the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist. This
    event was commemorated by Monsignor Richard W. Smith, then Bishop of Pembroke.

  • Today, Ste Bernadette is a meeting place to celebrate faith, a place of sanctuary and refuge for the Bonfield parishioners. Ste Bernadette is known for its annual picnic, serving its traditional meat“seapie”, prepared in cast iron pots and cooked for hours in outdoor stone ovens. This event is well appreciated and very popular among locals and tourists alike.