The mission of our parish is to see each person in our community inspired and encouraged to have an encounter with God, resulting in lives that are enriched through worship, prayer and service.
Jesus, open our hearts, enabling us to embrace your teachings and to love one another.
Holy Spirit, lift us and lead us, deepening our desire to serve God through serving each other.
- St. Helen is a vibrant church community.
- Its members strive to be filled with (or guided by) the Holy Spirit in all aspects of their Christian lives.
- Its members using their God given talents, committing themselves to enriching the lives of persons in our community with joy and enthusiasm.
- Its members sharing in passionate prayer, study, and laughter.
- St. Helen as a compassionate, non-judgemental and inclusive community.
Historical overview of our parish
Our parish had its origin in 1938 as a mission church, serving the people of the Vineland and Beamsville area from the Mother Church of St. Joseph in Grimsby. St. Helen was the ‘Brainchild’ of Fr. Webster who was parish priest of St. Joseph’s Church. He later became Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Toronto, then Bishop of Peterborough.
After the land was purchased from the Hipple family, a Toronto architect, J. Haffa, was commissioned to design the building. Diocesan records indicate Clara Construction of Toronto and a mason contractor were involved. Early members of St. Helen’s recall the work was mainly a labour of love by the future parishioners who worked under the contractor’s supervision. Much of the stone was dragged from neighbouring fields using horse and stoneboat. The people who helped build the church were mostly Ukrainian, Polish, Slovenian, Italian and Dutch immigrants.
As a mission church, St. Helen was designed primarily for Sunday Mass, while other celebrations such as baptisms, weddings and funerals were expected to take place at St. Joseph in Grimsby. The narrow aisle and small sanctuary of the old church presented some interesting logistical challenges for weddings and funerals.
The church was first named Sacred Heart, but W.T. Kernahan who had donated $500 to the building fund was given the privilege of renaming it. He chose to name the church St. Helen, placing it under the patronage of St. Helen, mother of the first Christian Roman Emperor. The little stone church was finally completed on October 2, 1938, and about 200 people attended the first Mass at St. Helen, celebrated by Cardinal McGuigan.
On January 1986, the Bishop of the Diocese of St. Catharines, the Most Rev. Thomas B. Fulton, established St. Helen as a parish, embracing all of the Catholics living in the Town of Lincoln, which includes the communities of Beamsville, Campden, Jordan, Jordan Station, Rockway, Tintern, Vineland and Vineland Station. St. Helen’s change in status from a mission church to a parish was due to its growth, solid membership and strong financial base. Father LeRoy Lee was appointed as the first Pastor of the newly erected parish.
After Father Lee retired, Fr. Brian Bevan was appointed pastor. On December 13, 1997, Fr. Bevan received permission from Bishop John O’Mara to rent St. Alban’s Anglican Church in Beamsville to accommodate two celebrations of Mass each weekend because St. Helen Church was no longer big enough to accommodate the Catholic community.
Under the pastoral administration of Fr. Paul MacNeil, Sunday Mass began to be celebrated in the gym of St. Mark’s School in Beamsville, where we were always received with a very warm welcome from the school administration. However, the use of St. Mark’s gym was not a permanent solution. The St. Helen parish community needed a larger church to accommodate the whole parish community.
Under the administration of Fr.Philip English, our new church building was completed in 2015 in the heart of Beamsville with the help of our community to accommodate our growing needs. In August of 2018, we bid farewell to Fr. Philip English and welcomed Rev. Krzysztof Szczepanik to the church as our parish pastor.