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Diocese of


Whale Cove   ᑎᑭᕋᕐᔪᐊᖅ

Holy Spirit
Foundation of the Roman Catholic Mission

The Catholic Church in Whale Cove

The mission of Whale Cove was founded in 1960, shortly after the establishment of the town itself. The area was often visited by the Inuit on their way to the North since the middle of the eighteen century.

In late 1950s the Department of Northern Affairs began sending inland Inuit to Whale Cove and established a permanent settlement. A small mission was build then, to help looking after spiritual needs of the growing population and it was taken in charge by Fr. Rogatien Papion OMI.

The pastoral care for the mission was also shared with the lay Inuit catechists. After two years training at the Chatechists School of Pelly Bay, in 1971 Nicolas Sikkua came down to Whale Cove, where he replaced Fr. Papion, transferred to Rankin Inlet mission. Today the community is visited regularly by the priest stationing at Arviat, Fr. Greg Oszust OMI.

Oblates That Served the Parish:

  • Fr. Rogatien Papion, 1960-66, 1987-91
  • Fr. Trinel, 1960,
  • Fr. Jean-Marie Trebaol, 1967-1969
  • Fr. Louis Fournier, 1980-1987
  • Fr. Greg Oszust, 1999-present

About the Town:


Whale Cove, located around 60 miles south of Rankin Inlet, is one of the smallest communities of Nunavut, with the population of 308 according to the estimates from the year 1999.

First Europeans visited the area of today Whale Cove in XVII century. Hudson Bay Co. opened a trading post at Tavani, an hour an a half by snowmobile from today’s settlement in XVIII century.

The town was created during hard winter of starvation 1957 - 58, when the federal government chose this area to relocate Inuit from the areas of Baker Lake, Arviat and Rankin Inlet. This way three different groups of Inuit, speaking also three different dialects came to live together in Whale Cove.