Fr. Larry Victor Michael Pederson
(February 14, 1944 - January 8, 2023)
Father Larry Victor Michael Pederson of Camrose, Alberta, passed away on Sunday, January 8, 2023 at the age of 78 years.
Father Larry Pederson was born in Round Hill, Alberta on February 14th, 1944 of parents Victor and Lily Pederson. He is survived by his twin brother Lyle (Ann) of Toledo, Ontario; and his sisters Janice DeRoche (Larry) of Edmonton, and Bonnie Mombourquette (John) of Edmonton.
He attended secondary school in Round Hill and went to senior high school at St. Patrick’s in Camrose. After graduating from high school, he had the opportunity to join a group of high school students from across Canada to travel throughout Europe over the summer. The experience and knowledge he gained from this trip had a tremendous influence on his life and his understanding of European cultures, traditions and the architecture of the Catholic cathedrals and symbolism used in the churches to convey the meaning of Christianity.
He trained for the priesthood at St. Joseph’s Seminary in St. Albert, Alberta. After completing his training in philosophy, he attended St. Paul’s University Seminary in Ottawa to complete his degree in theology. His studies in theology at St. Paul’s and the documents coming out of Vatican II greatly influenced his thinking about the meaning of church, the liturgy, the sacraments and the Old and New Testament. He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Anthony Jordan, O.M.I. in 1968 at St. Francis Xavier Church in Camrose, Alberta.
Larry’s first assignment as a priest was as an assistant to Father McNeil at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Edmonton. Because Larry grew up in small town Alberta, he felt comfortable working in several smaller communities of Alberta.
He was a full professor of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology and Specialized Questions in Ecclesiology at Newman Theological College in Edmonton, Alberta.
It was when he was the parish priest serving in Our Lady of the Prairies Parish in Daysland that he took a great interest in designing and constructing the large stained-glass windows for the church. When he accepted the assignment as Parish Priest to St. Francis Xavier Church in Camrose, he took up the task of designing a new church with the assistance of the parish committee. He commented that it was a spiritual moment for him when the final touches were made to the new building. He said that the parish had a lot of beautiful people who received sacraments and faith formation and that having a new church and also a new hall would allow for the development of programs and services. He worked non-stop on the design of the church and the many symbols that were built into the church design to emphasize the meaning of the Christian message. He was ever aware of the importance of implementing the changes after Vatican II and incorporated the themes into the liturgy and the design of the new church.
Larry was a person who cherished his independence and kept his focus on what he considered the essential duties of a parish priest at a time when there was a shortage of priests to do much of the work required in a parish. During his free time, he spent time travelling with Father Clement Gauthier. He enjoyed building different pieces of furniture for use in his rectory. He also found time in his earlier years to enjoy one of his hobbies – building bluebird houses. He made arrangements with local farmers to place them on fence posts and he would visit the houses in the spring to band the baby birds and in the fall to clean out the nests. He was certified as a bander of birds by the federal government. He enjoyed learning about purple martins, their habits, flight patterns and why the population was decreasing in various parts of Canada.
His family will always remember him for the enthusiasm he had in designing stained-glass windows, his passion for banding bluebirds and his enthusiasm to bring alive the many meaningful symbols of the Old and New Testament in the design of the new St. Francis Xavier Church. He also developed a comprehensive vision for the larger community of parishes surrounding the Camrose church so that they could benefit from the services of the church despite the shortage of priests.
Left to cherish his memory are his siblings Janice (Larry) De Roche of Edmonton, Bonnie (John) Mombourquette of Edmonton, and twin brother Lyle (Ann) Pederson of Toledo, Ontario.
Father Larry was predeceased by his parents Victor and Lily Pederson.
A Prayer Vigil was held Wednesday, January 11, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. at St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church 3605 50 St, Camrose led by Deacon Doug Tien.
A Funeral Mass was held at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, January 12, 2023, at St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church, with Father Paul Kavanaugh as celebrant.
If family and friends so desire, memorial contributions in Father Larry's memory may be made to the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church Building Fund.