"It's inspiring to see," Father Mark Filips told CBC News after mass on Sunday. "Young people, old people, everybody in between coming together in such great numbers."
Average attendance for a Sunday mass at the church, in the town about 170 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, is between 250 and 300 people, according to Filips.
But it's not just the number of people filling the seats that is gaining attention, it's also about who is coming.
Filipino immigrants boost congregationThis past Sunday, many of the seats in the church's basement, where services are held while the main sanctuary is undergoing renovations, were filled with Filipino immigrants.
As a result, other industries and services in the town, which had a population of about 3,500 in 2011, are also needing new workers.
Myla Ignacio, her husband Ronald and their two boys were among those in attendance.
"It is just like home," she said after Sunday's service. "That sense of belonging-ness is there."
Ignacio has been attending the church with her husband since she and the boys arrived in Neepawa in 2013. Ronald arrived in 2011. She said the Catholic church is the most attended in the Philippines and people who immigrate to Canada tend to keep their faith.
"It's a wonderful feeling as a priest," Filips said of leading a service in front of a full congregation.
Church sees marked increase in growth
"I guess it would be ... six or so years ago, the numbers here were really really low," he said. "The church just came back."
"I think it inspires people who haven't been going to church for a while to come back on board," Filips added.
It's also lead to the incorporation of more Filipino elements into the weekly services.
Filips, who referred to Neepawa as "Little Manila on the Prairies" during Sunday's service, said the church has a Filipino choir and recently hosted a Filipino festival as a fundraiser for the church's renovations. Ignacio's sons also serve as alter servers.
Neepawa's trend not unique
Reginald Bibby is co-author of Canada's Catholics: Vitality and Hope in a New Era and is also the board of governors research chair in sociology at the University of Lethbridge.
He said Catholicism, while not a perfect growth story, has been the big player in terms of numbers in Canada for the past several years, according to his research.
Bibby said the number of people who consider themselves Catholic has remained "remarkably stable" compared to other religions and isn't showing signs of slowing down.
"Their numbers have been incredibly boosted by immigration," he said. "The number arriving as Roman Catholics [over the past 10 years] was almost half a million."
'Immigration pipeline' importantBibby said the "immigration pipeline" has now become the most important factor in the growth of church populations in Canada.
"The harsh reality is they've got a lot of people dying and they're not replacing them through birth," he said, adding that the number of people attending Anglican, United and Lutheran churches are falling.
"Unless they can experience some dramatic immigration or a spike in birth rates ... they're just not going to be growing."
Bibby said Statistics Canada data from 2008-09 has shown most immigrants are settling in Ontario and Quebec, where the Catholic church is seeing the most growth among the provinces.
Atlantic Canada and the territories had the lowest number of new immigrants.
Back in Neepawa, Iganco said she's blessed to attend church with so many different families.
"Even Father Mark would say he's so blessed," she said.
"We're a country of many different denominations," Filips said.