More than a half-century of service to the English Catholic community
At the time of World War II, there were few English-speaking Roman Catholics living in the Saint-Laurent area. The closest center of worship for them was the St. Laurent Parish Church on rue Principale, now known as Ste-Croix Avenue. After his discharge from the services, Rev. David F. McDonald was named curate in St. Malachy’s Parish.
In June 1948, a Mission dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima was formed to serve the English Catholic speaking people of Saint-Laurent. Father McDonald was placed in charge of the new mission and he continued to live at St. Malachy’s Rectory. Arrangements were made with the Commission Scolaire de St. Laurent to rent Beaudet School Hall and Mass was first said in June 1948. With the opening of more streets west of Decarie, both north and south of Cote Vertu and the building of Norgate apartments, the population of the new mission grew rapidly.
A house on Crevier St. was rented in December 1951 as a residence for the new pastor. A chapel was built in the basement by some men of the parish and Mass was celebrated in it beginning with Lent 1952.
On November 5, 1951, the mission became the Parish of Our Lady of Fatima. On Nov. 25 at a meeting of all parishioners, eight Wardens were elected and the late Mr. N. Curran became the first warden and he was succeeded by Mr. J.G. Barry on Jan. 1, 1952. A house on Crevier St. was rented in December 1951 as a residence for the new pastor. A chapel was built in the basement by some men of the parish and Mass was celebrated in it beginning with Lent 1952.
Mr. E.K. Pennefather, Mr. C. Tanner and Mr. W. Mines were elected as Trustees by the proprietors to assist in the arranging for the erection of a church. Land at the corner of Decelles and Laurentien had been purchased by St. Malachy’s Parish in the name of the new parish and it was transferred to Our Lady of Fatima in March 1952. Mr. F. Consiglio drew the plans for the church and F. L. Guay was chosen as the general contractor. The first sod was turned in the summer of 1952 after a bond issue of $ 375,000 had been floated. Mr. J. Fairhurst became warden for year 1953.
In spite of several problems, work on the new building went on well and the corner stone was laid by Bishop L.P. Whelan March 22, 1953. Towards the end of May, the parishioners were invited to tour the rectory and basement of the new church and Sunday Mass was said in the church basement on the last Sunday of May. The whole building was finished, the furniture was installed and the First mass was sung in the Church itself Christmas 1953 at Midnight.
Father Emmett Johns was named curate in June 1953 and the church was blessed by His Eminence Paul-Emile Cardinal Leger, May 16, 1954. Father McDonald died March 13, 1959 and he was succeeded by his life-long friend, the pastor of St. Barbara’s in Ville Lasalle, Father Gordon Carroll. Shortly afterwards, Father Johns became chaplain of Marian Hall and Father Kevin Griffin was named assistant. While he was chaplain of Marymount High School, Father Russell A. Schultz was in residence and administered the parish during the illness of Father Carroll. During the later sixties Fathers Felix Boudreau, Gaza Heyne, and Clark were also stationed in the rectory. With the appointment of Father Griffin to Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Lachine, Father Bob Cornell became assistant in September 1970.
Fr. Carroll took very ill in the fall of 1970 and Father Joseph Cameron administered the parish until the return of the Pastor in February 1971. But, Father Carroll did not regain his health so he resigned at the end of the month and was succeeded by the third Pastor Rev. Russell A. Schultz on March 1, 1971. Father Carroll died shortly after on July 6, 1971.
Fr. Cornell was replaced by Fr. Charles Costigan in 1973. When Father Costigan was moved to St. Willibrord Church in Verdun during the summer of 1974, Fr. Manny Rodrigues came to Our Lady of Fatima in September 1973 as a curate until September 1977. Later we had Father Michael Shaw from October 1981 until September 1982 and Father Robert Jollett came in September 1986 until August 1990 as curates.
After a illness Father Schultz was replaced by Rev. Ron Calhoun the 1st Sep 2004 and a year later by Rev. Father Brian Moon. Fr. Moon died suddenly on 15 February 2011. At the end of May our new Pastor came to us – he is Rev Sunny Padinharidath Abraham.
Fr John Charles joined us in February 2014 within a week after coming from India.