Amazing Grace Ministry

Formerly:Lithuanian Church of God,
St Casimir's Lithuanian Church
Address:432 Elgin Avenue
Use:Place of worship
Original Use:Place of worship
Constructed:1953 –1957
Architects:Alfredas Kulpa-Kulpavičius
Contractors:Built with volunteer labour

More Information

With the end of the Second World War, many Lithuanian speaking refugees arrived in Winnipeg from Displaced Person camps in Europe. They were mostly Roman Catholic and were welcomed by the local Catholic clergy to attend Mass at any church. However, they wished to worship in their own language. Father Justinas Bertasius, a fellow refugee, arrived in Winnipeg in 1951 to assist the Lithuanian community. With the local bishop’s approval, a vacant lot on Elgin Street was purchased from the City of Winnipeg in 1952 and work began to plan for a Lithuanian Catholic church building.

Local and Lithuanian emigres from across North America donated sufficient funds to initiate the construction of a basement for the church structure. The volunteers began to dig in the spring of 1953. The foundation and walls were temporarily roofed over, and the basement space was used for several years to celebrate Mass and hold community events.

The name St. Casimir (1458-1484) was chosen since he is the patron saint of Lithuania, known for his piety, and generosity towards the poor. Numerous Lithuanian churches across North America are named after him.

The incomplete church was formally opened on Palm Sunday, April 14th, 1957. Most of the construction was done by volunteer members of the local Lithuanian community who came after work and on weekends. The granite found on the exterior, donated by “Manitoba Hydro” was brought back by members of the congregation from Seven Sisters Falls in Manitoba.

The design of this modest building is based on drawings by émigré architect Alfred Kulpa- Kulpavicius, a Lithuanian, who studied in Germany after the war and set up an architectural practice in Toronto. This is an excellent example Modern Lithuanian Architectural Style as seen in a religious building and was Kulpavicius’ second church project in Canada. The main façade is an inverted “V” with Lithuanian architectural motifs dominating the exterior and interior decoration of the building. Natural wood folk motifs along with iconic metal crosses made the small church a link to the parishioner’s homeland.

The building was the hub for the newcomers with their young families. Concerts, a Lithuanian language school, a library and numerous other functions were held here that helped preserve their culture.

In time the local Filipino community attended an English service early Sunday morning with a Lithuanian Mass that followed.

Father J. Bertasius passed away in 1999. St. Casimir’s Lithuanian Roman Catholic Church was closed by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese and was eventually sold.

Design Characteristics



  • Gordon Aikman. "Churches of Manitoba". Winnipeg Tribune, February 25, 1978.
  • Lillian Gibbons. "A Little Bit of Old Lithuania". Winnipeg Tribune, January 10, 1959.