The name of
Saint Patrick's originated out of the Irish community who met for
service with others in a stable of Michael Egan at the southwest corner
of Gerrish and Gottingen Streets. A silver chalice from Saint Patrick's
Church, Halifax, founded in 1843 as a mission of Saint Mary's is the
oldest artifact connected to the parish. The markings on the
pedestal indicate it was made circa 1840 by a Halifax silversmith, James Langford (b.1815-d.1847).
Patrick's moved into a former Dissenters Meeting House on Brunswick Street that had been
used as the Anglican Garrison Chapel. A tower and spire was added and
the bell for Saint Patrick's arrived in 1851. A school was opened in
the basement in 1857. This same site was used for the building of the
Brunswick Street had developed into a fine residential area as local
merchants built stately homes amongst the original cottages. With 8
churches close together the street was known as 'church row.'
Saint Patrick Church
1840 - 1883
[The Little Dutch
Church c. 1756 is owned by the Anglican Church and is occasionally used
for services. It has been restored; Saint George's Anglican, the Round
Church c.1800 has been restored after a fire in the 1990s; Cornwallis
Street Baptist was established in the 1830s and renovated in the early
1900s, Trinity Anglican was built in the 1920s on the site of the new
Garrison Church that had been destroyed by fire; the former
Universalist Church of the Redeemer later purchased in 1949 as Saint
Patrick's social hall is now condominiums; Saint John's Presbyterian
Church was destroyed in the Halifax Explosion and the congregation
rebuilt on Windsor Street what is now known as Saint John's United;
Brunswick Street United Church was rebuilt in the 1980s after a fire
destroyed the former Methodist Church of 1830's.
It is also interesting
to note that all of the c.1800s churches north of
North Street were
destroyed in the Halifax Explosion.]
- In December 1867 the
first meeting of the newly formed Saint Patrick's committee of Saint
Vincent de Paul Society was held in the church basement.
-1872 a new school
building was erected on
Lockman Street (now
Barrington) just below and south of the church.
-1873 Saint Patrick's
-1882 Archbishop Hannon
made plans for a new Saint Patrick's but passed away before work began.
The plans of Patrick Keely who had designed the granite front and
steeple at Saint Mary's Basilica were considered but not chosen. A
submission by P. W. Ford of
Boston was also rejected. Henry Peters, a Halifax Roman Catholic, with
his assistant George H. Jost prepared the architectural plans for the
brick and granite Gothic church. Mr. Peters had worked with his brother
Simon and George Blaiklock on a number of Halifax projects including the plans for Saint Matthew's
Church (1858). In the 1860s and 1870s Mr. Peters worked through his own
firm in the building of public buildings and private residences. Mr.
Peters continued to superintend construction with the approval of the
new Archbishop of Halifax, Cornelius O'Brien.
- April 2, 1883 the last mass was said in
the old Saint Patrick's.
- August 8, 1883, His Grace Archbishop
Cornelius O'Brien laid the cornerstone for the current Saint Patrick's
Church. Inside the cornerstone, a tin box contained memorabilia
including copies of the constitutions of the Charitable Irish Society
and the Catholic Total Abstinence Societies as well as coins,
newspapers and the autobiography of the newly consecrated Archbishop.
The Archbishop visited the site every day throughout construction to
view progress and bless the workers and volunteers. The building is in
the Victorian Gothic style. It is a brick structure with Nova Scotia granite trim. The sides
have been faced with stucco. It has a symmetrical front façade
typical Gothic detailing: hood drip moulds, spires, window tracery and
-The first mass was
held in the new church basement December 22, 1883 and on December 27, 1885 parishioners attended
mass in front of the old altar in the newly opened upstairs church.
-1885 September 28
Archbishop O'Brien sends letter of thanks to Power Bros., Plastering
248 West Street 106th
Street, New York, expressing satisfaction with
the plastering and stucco work done by you in Saint Patrick's. James
Reardon and Sons did the painting, tinting and gilding and were
finished in November.
Presbytery/Glebe House is completed and debt on it is paid off in 2
-March 1890 Henry
Peters the builder of Saint Patrick's dies and leaves bequests for the
glebe, a Magdalen Asylum for women and a Guardian Angel institution for
-1898 the Cassavant
organ Opus 91 was purchased for Saint Patrick's.
glass windows installed.
-1910 the Rutland statuary marble high altar created by Griffin &
Keltie of Halifax as well
as the platform and steps. Stations of the Cross were installed. After
25 years the debt on the church was paid and on July 14, the church was
consecrated by Archbishop McCarthy who had been parish rector.
-1921 the new Saint
Patrick's Boys School opened opposite the church on lands that had been
bought by Father Murphy who wanted the school close to the church. The
dwelling houses were demolished and the site offered to the school
board at a low cost. The west side of Brunswick Street was also site of Saint Patrick's Girls School and Saint Patrick's
Girls High School until 1954 when the new
combined High School was built on Quinpool Road.
-1922 stained glass
windows replaced by the Bavarian Art Establishment of Franz Mayer & Co.,
and New York with repairs and improvements to the building
carried out by Rambusch of New York who opened an office in Halifax to
look after the work in many churches and buildings after the Halifax
Explosion. The Rambusch Glass and Decorating Company of New York was founded in 1898 by a 29
year old Danish immigrant, Frode C. V. Rambusch, who moved to New York
after attending the Royal Art Academy in Copenhagen and schools of
applied arts in Berlin and Munich. His company specialized in
decorative murals, ecclesiastical ornaments, and religious interiors.
The company is now run by the fourth generation of the family.
-1933-45 under Father
Donahoe a number of boys and girls clubs were established as was the
Saint Patrick's Credit Union. 1938 major youth rally held at Saint
Patrick's. He purchased the figures for the manger crib scene.
-1940's Saint Patrick's
Minstrels show is run daily for entertainment of servicemen.
1946 Father William M. Pepper (d. Nov 2001) served at Saint Patrick's
-1944 census estimated
5600 parishioners within boundary.
visitation at the Glebe House for Rt. Rev. Donahoe before his body
moved to the church which was draped in black and purple by men of the
Halifax Firemen's Association.
Saint Patrick Church
-1946 major cleaning,
repainting and varnishing under leadership of Father C. J. Martin. His
brother, Balfour F. Martin of the firm of Martin and Moore Limited,
Halifax carried out the painting supervision. Sanctuary lamp brackets
and 18 new lighting fixtures were designed and hand made by Metal
Industries Limited of Canada . The new shrines created at the
back of the church with the realignment of access to the galleries were
for Saint Anthony and Our Lady Mother of Perpetual Help. The shrines
were the work of the Daprato Studios of Chicago. Saint Anthony's League
at Saint Patrick's helps to complete the Saint Anthony's shrine in the
church. Angel Holy Water fonts were also added to the church. All work
fully paid for by donations.
-The altar area would
change again in the early 1950s when the Joseph Purcell mural paintings
would be added and Saint Patrick on the top of the high altar would be
replaced by a brass cross spire.
-1960s-70s some of the
altar rail removed, some statues removed, small altar table installed.
Lower church known as Saint Anthony Chapel or the children's church,
used for many years for a 10am childrens' Mass to relieve congestion at
the 5 Sunday Masses in the upper church, is turned over for use as hall.
-1971 Hope Cottage
started by Father Mills and the parish.
-1980 Father Henry
Kline, Pastor. Fathers J. Edward Grant and Charles Hatherly in
-1980s Church is
-1984 September 14,
Mass offered by His Holiness Pope John Paul II on the Halifax Commons
within the parish boundaries of Saint Patrick's Church. In many of the
overview pictures of the Mass, Saint Patrick's Church is seen in the
-1985 Archbishop Hayes
celebrates 100 years of Mass being held in Saint Patrick's Church.
-1992 Campaign lunch
and auction for the new roof.
-1995 Father George
Leach was the Sacramental Minister until 2002.
-1995 Deacon Jack
MacNeil was the administrator until 1998.
-1998 Michael Burke was
the administrator until 2005.
-1999 year of the older
person celebrated at Saint Patrick's.
Saint Patrick Church
-2000 Very Rev. John
Williams (Pastor overseeing from Saint Mary's) Father George Leach SJ,
(Sacramental Ministry) Father Charles Pottie SJ, (in residence), Saint
Patrick's Social Club had a reunion.
-2003 7 people left
homeless by fire were housed in Rectory. 350 attend Saint Patrick's Day
fun in hall.
- May 25 Strategic
Planning Committee met to give response to Forward in Faith. A Parish
Life committee to be formed and election held to have a new Parish
council by fall. A future planning committee formed to be responsible
on issues like the future of the church and rectory.
- October 24 Parish
Council elections elected 9 council members to form the first parish
council in a number of years.
- November, hall is
turned into a homeless shelter. Parishioners donate sweets to go with
drinks and soups available.
-2005 Parish Council
approves committee to fundraise for a building condition survey to
provide information regarding a major fundraiser to conserve and
rejuvenate the historic building and systems.
-2005 June, Father
Basil Carew retires after many years of work for the people of Saint
- 2005 September,
Jesuits move into the Glebe House taking the 2nd and 3rd
floors and sharing the first floor.
-2005 Father Thomas
Mabey appointed pastor of Saint Patrick's and Saint Mary's Basilica
October 2005 A building
conservation study reveals it is time to stop ringing the bell in the
church tower until repairs are undertaken.
2006 July, the organ is
declared a heritage organ and a plaque was presented by a convention of
organists meeting in
2006-2007 Ron Beed was the administrator.
Parishioners are told that Saint Patrick's will close on November 25.
2007 June, the closing
date has been extended to June 2008 to give Saint Patrick's the
opportunity to raise sufficient funds to restore and maintain the
2007 July, The Saint
Patrick's Church Restoration Society is formed with a mandate to
restore and preserve the church through a fundraising campaign.
2007 July, the website
www.givesaintpatrickahand.com is launched.
2007 September, a press
conference is held to announce the official start of our fundraising
2007 October, the first
annual fundraising Dinner and Auction is held at the World Trade and
2007 December 16, the
Messiah by the Bedford Singers, is the first in a series of upcoming
fundraising concerts over the next several months in support of The
Saint Patrick's Church Restoration Society.
2008 January 1, the
Restoration Society hosts the first Saint Patrick's Church New Year's
2008 February 3, the
first concert in an eight concert series presented by the Restoration
2008 February 17, a
Celebration of Marriages at Saint Patrick's Church Through the
2008 March 15, The
first Saint Patrick's Day parade in 70 years was organized by the
2008 May 1, The
Heritage Canada Foundation (HCF) has included Saint Patrick's Church on
its Top Ten Endangered Places List of threatened architectural and
heritage sites in Canada.
2008 June 27, The Saint
Patrick's Church Restoration Society holds a press conference to
their successful completion of the June financial goal, set by the
Archdiocese, to keep the church from closing.
2009 June 16, an
agreement is signed, between the Saint Patrick’s Church Restoration
the Archdiocese, that allows the Society to assume
responsibility for the restoration and maintenance of the church.
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