The vast majority of Italian Canadians are Roman Catholic, Italy being, after all, the home of the head of the Catholic Church. Weddings, baptisms, feast days, Christmas and Easter all hold great religious significance.
In Edmonton, there is only one Parish where most of the religious services are in Italian. Prior to the establishment of an Italian Parish, religious services were held occasionally at the General Hospital Chapel and, later on, in the basement of the Sacred Heart Church. In 1959 the Scalabrini Fathers established the Santa Maria Goretti Parish in Edmonton.
The feast day of the patrona, Santa Maria Goretti Day, is probably the best-established event celebrated by the Italian community in Edmonton. Besides the Mass and procession, which consists of churchgoers carrying the statue of the saint and singing religious songs around the block, there is a picnic with games for children.
The Santa Maria Goretti Community Centre is a building designed to accommodate all religious and social activities of the Santa Maria Goretti Parish, but it functions also as a centre for educational, cultural, social, recreational and artistic activities open to the community at large. It is also rented to non-Italians for activities compatible with the nature of the place such as First Communion Dinner, Confirmation Dinner, Mother's Day Dinner, Father's Day Dinner.