As you drive along the southern end of Fisher Avenue on a Sunday morning, or almost any evening of the week, you will notice people gathered in front of 1621 Fisher. This is the heart of the "New Italy" in our region of the capital, the church in honor of Mary, the mother of Christ “resurrected.” It is the home of the Christian Community of Madonna della Risurrezione .
The church as you see it was the inspiration of a local Italian architect, Filippo Piazza.
How did community and church come about?
An Italian lady, Alice Bartolow(Bartolo) living on Kaladar Avenue was the spokesperson and advocate for the Italian families in our community. She was particularly concerned with the spiritual welfare of the children. "Our children are neglected,"she would repeatedly insist with Father McGrory. "You speak Italian, you can organize something for us in our language."
During the month of March 1978, Father Toni Ostan OMI, a former missionary to Inuit peoples, and Father Barry McGory, pastor of Holy Cross church, met for the first time while visiting inmates at Burritt's Rapids Correctional Institution. Father Barry had involved parishioners in his pastoral care to the institution; and Father Ostan was visiting a young Italian inmate there.
"I am in need of help, Father Toni" said the Irish priest. "I have many Italian families in Holy Cross Parish that are insisting that I do something for them, especially for the children."
Father Ostan celebrated the first Italian mass in the gymnasium of St. Victor's School, Sunday, November 5, 1978, for a very happy community of Italians. These were the pioneers of Madonna della Risurrezione Parish.
A trial period of masses for November was launched to see if it met the religious needs of the local Italian community. Well it did! The community came from the east of the Rideau River to the west end of the city.
The Masses eventually moved to the Archbishop’s chapel on Kilborn Avenue on the east side, and at St. Rita's School on the west side.
The Archbishop acknowledged that "Considering the fact the growth of the Italian population in Ottawa, there was a need for two Italian Parishes". Thus, Madonna della Risurrezione Christian Community was born. On May 15, 1980 it was removed from the jurisdiction of Holy Cross parish and established as an "independant mission". With the Archdiocesan Decree of April 13, 1984, the "Church" status was officially established.
The following year in 1985, the Parish purchased the property at 1621 Fisher Avenue. The modest little house became the parish rectory for the resident priest in the beginning. Five years later the property gave birth to the Church of Madonna della Risurrezione as you now see it!