The History of St. Patrick’s Church, Midnapore
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When Calgary was born in 1875 Midnapore (Fish Creek) had one of the first Catholic families in the district, Mr. and Mrs. John Glenn, and three children. As other children were born, they were baptized in Calgary by Father Doucet and Scollen.
In 1885 John Glenn donated land for the construction of the Anglican church, at Midnapore. When the Catholics of the district wished to build a church, Patrick Glenn, (John Glenn’s eldest son), donated the property beside the Anglican church.
A parish becomes a Church (1905)
To raise the money for the construction of the Catholic church the men of the district gave cash donations, and then donated their labour as well. Mrs. Victoria Whitney recalled how she and the other children offered their contribution, by singing and dancing at box socials. Quite often the bids at the social gatherings would go so high as twenty-five dollars per box, and on one occasion Joe Shannon bought four lunches at twenty-five dollars each. James Stevens, a Scottish stonemason, who owned a half section of land north of Mckevitt’s was hired to build the foundation, which he did from rocks and mortar. Ed McKevitt, a young boy at the time, remembers carrying mortar in lard pails to Mr. Stevens. Thomas Patton, a brother of Dan Patton, was the carpenter who built the church, with the help of the local men. In 1905 the church with a residence was finished, and it was named St. Patrick’s.
When the churches at Midnapore were completed, Pat Burns, a Catholic, took it upon himself to tend to the painting of the two buildings, and he did this until his death. Every few years he would send out a work crew to paint the two buildings. On one occasion, when the men had finished painting the Catholic church, the Anglican counterpart looked shabby, by comparison, so Pat sent his work crew over to paint the “heathens” church.
Father Lestanc said the first Mass at St. Patrick’s. He had spent the previous night at the home of Patrick Glenn so that he could arrive early at the church. Father Lacombe was the first pastor, and he remained here until his death, in 1916. (In 1910, he had been instrumental in building the Lacombe Home, a home for orphan children and old folks). The Oblates to succeed Father Lacombe were Fathers Demeret, OMI, Cheveltier, OMI, and Remas, OMI.
In 1812, when the Calgary Diocese was formed, secular priests followed: Fathers Dougan, Smith, Moriarty, Rouleau and F. A. Newman (1923-1948). Father Newman, the kind and witty priest, with a green thumb, landscaped the Catholic church yard and cemetery, and the orchard on the Lacombe Home property. Then, with the help of the boys of the Lacombe Home, and one of its senior citizens, Mr. Strong, he planted all the trees on these areas, and cared for them during his many years at Midnapore.
Article reprinted from:The History of St. Patrick’s Church, Midnapore