For many years the English speaking Catholics of Granby did not have any religious instructions in their own language. This was due to the fact that they were in such minority, and attended Masses in different parishes of the City, leaving only a handful to support their community.
In fairness to the the large French speaking Catholics, this was only right as they provided the financial aid and corporate assistance to support their own Churches. To overcome these difficulties it was arranged that a priest from Loyola in Montreal would come to Granby one week-end each month to teach religious instruction and to say Mass. These services, which generally included a Holy Hour, would be held in the basement of Notre Dame Church where religious instructions would be given to the children, either just before or after Mass.
At one time and for several years prior to the founding of St. Patrick's Mission, Father Breton of Holy Family Parish arranged to have one Mass on Sunday at which he preached the sermon in English and also made all of his announcements in both languages. The sermon was of necessity a short one, but was much appreciated by the English Catholics. This continued for several years, but eventually died out.
The opening of the St. Patrick's Mission was due to the initiative of Mr. Leslie Roach, who undertook the task of passing among all the English speaking Catholics of the City and obtaining their signatures to a petition which asked for recognition of their rights. This task completed, he formed a committee to go with him to interview Bishop Douville of St. Hyacinthe with their request. They were met very graciously by his Lordship and were advised that the Mission would be allowed to hold all services in the basement of the Holy Family Church. It was a pleasure for Father Nadeau to accept this congregation and from the inception of the Mission, Father Nadeau has been the essence of kindness in all its activities.
To provide a spiritual director, Bishop Douville made contact with the authorities of the Congregation of the Fathers of the Divine Word and assigned Rev. Albert St-Pierre to be the guide and director of St. Patrick's Mission. The first service was held on January 6th 1951. Father St-Pierre being a man of dynamic personality, a splendid preacher and imbued with a spirit of holiness, immediately began a campaign to strengthen the ties among his followers.
One of the first movements being the establishment of a branch of the Holy Name Society, which has been a bulwark in the carrying out of all activities. Next was an effort to have a school for the English speaking Catholic children. This was soon arranged for due to the initiative of Father St-Pierre, and the assistance of Mr. Leslie Roach and Mrs L. O. Carrière. The school Commission willingly acceded support to the movement. The initial classes included a total of thirty children who were taught by the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. The school was located in a private home which was a property if the Sisters.
After a few years Father St-Pierre was assigned to another job and was followed by Father Walsh for a short period. Father St-Pierre then returned to St. Patrick's. After a few years, Father St-Pierre was succeded by Father Charles Palmer, who in addition to the Mission acted as curate in the Holy Family Parish. All during this time, the School continued to be moved from one location to another, finally ending up in a building of their own on Dufferin Street. Father Palmer was eventually given a parish of his own at Adamsville and Father St-Pierre returned to St. Patrick's until 1957 when he was transferred by his superiors to a school in Massachussets and Rev. Lawrence Walsh, S.V.D., became the Parish's Spiritual Director. He has endeared himself to one and all, and St. Patrick's enjoyed a great spurt of growth under his direction.
In 1959, Father Walsh was transfered back to Chicago to be near his family and the news was received from Monsignor Robitaille that St. Patrick's was incorporated as St. Patrick's Chapelry and that for the first time the parishioners could have an election for Wardens. Up to this time, most of the Parish affairs were looked after by an Advisory Board of three members and Rev. Walsh.
On September 1st 1969, Father Lionel Stanford, S.J. took over officially as St. Patrick's Pastor, and held his first Mass in the Convent of the Helpers of the Holy Souls. St. Patrick's held Masses there for a few months but the place turned out to be too small. Enquiries were made at both St. George's Anglican Community and the United Church for the use of their facilities. The United Church offered the use of their building and St. Patrick's Mass was held there for the first time on December 7th 1969. The United Church's facilities have been St. Patrick's home since that date.
After Fr. Stanford's sudden death in 1977, St. Patrick's parishioners had several priests serve them, notably Fr. Germain Beaudry, Fr. Gunther Gessinger, S.V.D. and Fr. John Pelessier.
From the fall of 1991 to the late summer of 2002, Father Gérald Ouellette of St. Joseph's Parish was St. Patrick's Pastor, along with his assistants over the past years, notably Fr. Claude Lamoureux, Fr. Joseph Feeley, Fr. Fernand Langevin, and Fr. Jean Level Eliscard.
Since the middle of August 2002, St. Patrick's Parish forms a Pastoral Unit with two of Granby's French speaking Catholic parishes, namely St. Joseph's and St. Luke's. Father Claude Lamoureux has been nominated as Pastor for the whole Unit, with Rev. Bruno Godin, O.S.S.T. as assistant pastor at St. Patrick's.
The number of families attending St. Patrick's fluctuates from time to time as there has always been a big movement in and out of Granby of the English population, and seems more so of the English Catholics, but as always, what St. Patrick's has lacked in quantity they have always made up in quality and will continue to do so, God willing.
Most of the foregoing are taken from the souvenir booklet entitled "25th Anniversary: 1950-1975 - The first 25 years of St. Patrick's Mission and St. Patrick's Chapelry" and from Mr. J. L. Harvey's writings in the Centennial Souvenir Album issued by the City of Granby.
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