August 13, 1962 ~ December 13, 2020
Ordained ~ December 12, 1996
A Celebration of Reverend Father Owen Steeves’ life will be held on Saturday, October 22, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. at St. Mary Roman Catholic Church, 530 Atlantic Avenue, Beausejour, MB. All are welcome to attend.
During Covid-19 restrictions, the following services have been held: a private vigil service for immediate family on January 3, 2021; a funeral Eucharistic Mass of the Resurrection presided over by Albert LeGatt Archbishop of St. Boniface on January 31, 2021; and a graveside service at Green Acres Cemetery at Our Lady of Hope Mausoleum on February 14, 2021.
Father Owen was called home to his eternal rest on December 13, 2020 at the age of 58.
Father Owen is survived by his siblings, Treva (Marcel), Susan and Jim; numerous nieces and nephews; his best friend Father Robb McDougall and his beloved dog Binky. In addition, Father Owen leaves countless parishioners and friends to grieve.
He was predeceased by his parents, Norman and Clara (Nee Cure); his brothers Jack and Bill; his sister Marilyn; and his beloved dogs, Franklin, Clara and Colin.
Owen was born on August 13, 1962 in Selkirk, Manitoba and was raised in Lac du Bonnet and Winnipeg.
Owen entered the workforce at the age of 12 and after school worked at KFC and Shell. In his graduating year of high school, he received an Award for the highest marks in Mathematics. Earlier in his life, Owen studied and graduated a course in massage therapy. He also worked as a funeral director at Green Acres in Winnipeg and Connelly-McKinley in Edmonton. Owen graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts (with a major in Catholic Studies) from the University of Manitoba and then on to a diploma in Specialized Pastoral Education, and a Masters of Divinity Degree in Edmonton Alberta.
Owen, being deeply spiritual and a realist, was attentive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and responded to a call to study and to become an ordained Priest. He attended Seminary through the Archdiocese of St. Boniface, he completed his internship and was ordained as a Priest on December 12, 1996 at Christ the King Parish in St Vital.
Father Owen ministered for a year as Chaplain at the Prince Albert Penitentiary. Upon his return to Manitoba, he was appointed assistant pastor at Christ the King Parish, ministering to the families, community and Catholic School. Being very creative and effective and sharing his gifts for the good of others, he participated in the renovations of the church and was available to serve the needs of all who came to him.
On August 1, 1999 – 2005, Fr. Owen became pastor at St. Mary Parish in Beausejour and Our Lady of Hope in Anola. Father Owen had a special gift for bringing his Parishioners together under common causes. He also had an undeniable talent for capturing the essence of a person during his funeral homilies. At regular Sunday services, his parishioners would leave being fed from the word of God and inspired to welcome the Lord into their hearts and to be better people.
Father Owen was a beloved Priest and cared deeply for the communities which he served. He had a remarkable presence with people, down to earth nature, and a mischievous grin. His deep faith touched the lives of all who knew him. He connected easily with all people and his preaching brought the Gospel into his parishioners’ lives in meaningful and relevant ways. He invigorated and revitalized the Parishes which he had stewardship over. While at St. Mary Parish in Beausejour and Our Lady of Hope in Anola, he restored priceless Leo Mol Murals and he loved to decorate the churches for Christmas with Sheri and Tim.
Father Owen organized numerous events such as the yearly pilgrimage for Our Lady of La Salette, yearly garage sales, Chase the Ace, and other fund-raising events.
He could always be found in the Church with his beloved dogs at his side, and he would greet you with a laugh and a hug.
While at his Parishes, he undertook and completed major upgrades such as major improvements to St. Mary Cemetery. He revitalized the Church basement, giving much needed space to the CWL and the Knights of Columbus. This also provided an overflow for wedding and funeral attendees and gave parishioners a place to enjoy pancake breakfasts and other Church events. Other improvements included the installation of furnaces, air conditioners, a new roof, new windows, new carpets, new front doors and the list goes on.
Following this appointment, he became pastor at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Transcona where he served the community for several years from August 2005 until 2009.
While ministering there, he along with his good friend Deacon Jim Frater had a new roof done; new carpets throughout the church, a decorative iron railing with two gates put in for the baptismal font; a niche built in honour of Mary, mother of Jesus with votive candles; the Entrance doors replaced; new washrooms built; the interior of the church repainted; and the parking lot repaved.
Fr. Owen enjoyed and was a great supporter of the Blessed Sacrament Players dinner theatre fund raising group as participator and active member.
In August, 2009 until 2018, Owen returned as pastor to St. Mary in Beausejour and Our Lady of Hope in Anola as pastor of both churches, continuing in building community and maintaining the buildings and again, upgrading both parishes. and the Cemetery in Beausejour.
Father Owen had many creative and administrative abilities and created the logo for the Gerald McDougall Memorial Foundation Inc. as member of the board. He served as Chaplain to the Third and Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, as well as the Catholic Women’s League.
On August 1, until December 13, 2020, Father Owen was appointed to Holy Redeemer Parish in North Kildonan.
Sadly, his time with these members of the parish was short and we wish to offer all of you at the parish our prayers and sympathy.
Filled with deep sorrow and sadness, Fr. Owen suddenly passed-away on December13, 2020.
Rest in Peace faithful servant and best friend Owen.
This is an excerpt from our 100th Anniversary Banquet booklet dated May 23, 2009:
Father Owen came to our parish on August, 1999. Under his leadership, volunteers and trades people worked together to accomplish much needed repairs and remodeling of the church building and grounds. A new metal roof was installed in 2000 to help protect ceiling paintings of Leo Mol. For the 50th anniversary of the Beausejour La Salette Shrine, the Shrine was repaired and re-landscaped. The walkways were made more easily accessible, especially for the elderly or handicapped pilgrims. The statues repaired and the outdoor Way of Cross stations were spread out over a large area of the church grounds. The interior of the church was rejuvenated. The Alpha-Omega Memorial Wall was installed on the south wall of the sanctuary. A baptistry area was built to include Baptismal Font that could accommodate adult baptisms. With permission and direction from Leo Mol, his ceiling paintings were cleaned, and damaged areas repaired by artist Bev Bedford of Dove Designs; who also added some pictures to the walls at the entrance to the church. The wood floors and pews were refinished. In the basement, the kitchen area was expanded and new cabinets installed. The hall area was also renovated with a coat of white paint and one of the side rooms was made into a small chapel. The sound system was updated and now included a video projection system, which allowed viewing of the services on a screen in the basement. This has been very useful at large funerals as well as Christmas and Easter Services. A wheelchair ramp was added to the east entrance of the church and an area for wheelchair seating was made available. The front steps were reconstructed and the church entrance redesigned in 2004.
Renovations were also done to the rectory to provide an upstairs apartment for the resident priest and a downstairs office and reception space. Realizing the importance of maintaining the cemetery, which honours the memory of deceased parishioners who contributed to the life of the parish, Fr. Owen led the organization, computer cataloguing and expansion of the St. Mary Cemetery. This work led to the placement of a columbarium in the new section of the cemetery.
In Father Owen’s first 8 year term, he accomplished 16 major improvements to St. Mary church, rectory, and cemetery that no other residing priest did since Father Jaworski back to his coming to Beausejour in 1941.
Father Owen returned to our Parish in August 2009 to October 2018, and again Father Owen completed a number of major upgrades:
- New cement runs for cemetery plots.
- A new St. Mary corner stone and plaque monument at the cemetery
- Extended complete circle drive around the cemetery
- An area set aside for the unborn
- 3 furnaces installed; 2 in the church and 1 in the rectory (the 2 in the church will need to be replaced in the future as parts are no longer available).
- Air conditioner installed in the church and rectory.
- Church re-carpeted.
- Church painted and some repairs to the walls and balcony
- Cabinets installed in the church basement to give extra storage for CWL and Knights.
- All the windows and front doors cement casements were repaired.
- New front doors were installed.
- The eavestroughs were replaced to improve drainage and prevent leaking to the roof above the balcony.
- We added custom storm windows to help save with heating costs and protect the stain glass windows.
- Upgrading of all snow removing tractors and grass cutting equipment for the church grounds and cemetery.
- Repair church parking lot and prepare for future paving.
- Upgraded the church sound system.
Father Owen’s accomplishments have proven his love to our parish. We always had a healthy bank account every month. When he left our Parish in October 2018, and after completing these projects, he left our Parish with $80,000 in our operating and savings account. We know that from this, the repairs and projects and donations that he orchestrated for St. Mary would have exceeded more than $750,000.
I believe the Holy Spirit has guided Father Owen to give us all these gifts to our Parish and we should be thankful to him and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Respectfully, Robert (Bob) Baranoski
Member of St. Mary Parish