Williamstown, Ontario KOC 2JO



Saturday - 5:00 P.M.
Sunday - 10:30 a.m.
Telephone (613) 347-3511

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Table of Contents
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1. Rev. Francis McDonagh 1854-1858
2. Rev. Isaac J. McCarthy 1858-1875
3. Rev. Charles Gauthier 1875-1886
4. Rev. Isaac J. McCarthy 1886-1892
5. Rev. John Twoomy (Dean) 1892-1914
6. Rev. Albert McRae 1914-1922
7. Rev Ranald McDonald 1922-1928
8. Rev. A. L. MacDonald 1928-1958
9. Rev. Donald B. MacDougald 1958-1968
10. Rev. Bernard A. Cameron 1968-1979
11. Rev. Michael O'Brien 1979-1982
12. Rev. Charles MacDonald 1982-1988
13. Rev. Thomas Villeneuve 1988 -

According to the original minutes, dated June 14, 1845, a Committee was appointed to over-see the erection of a Catholic Church in Williamstown,

The present stone church, 85 X 52, was commenced in 1847 under the supervision of the late Rev. George Hay. The church was to be 26 feet above base and of Gothic style with bay doors and windows. The quarry stone was from the farm of Duncan Murchison, and the man in charge was William Jamieson. Construction was completed in 1849. The slab over the door bears the date, 1849, with the inscription


The Land for the church Presbytery and Cemetery (four acres) was generously donated by the late Hugh McGillis a retired member of the North West Fur Trading Company. A tablet in the Church over his grave reads "An eminent benefactor to this Parish. This gentleman in the days of Bishop MacDonell offered to build the church at his own expense.

St. Mary's Church, as we know it today, was a mission until October 16, 1854 when it was separated from St. Raphael's. The first entry in the Parish register is dated October 29, 1854.

The first priest lived in private lodging until the Presbytery, a small but very comfortable brick cottage, was erected at a Cost Of $2,000.00.

The Main Altar was a gift of Mr. and Mrs. John Hay of the Gore. The beautiful statue of the Immaculate Conception that now stands over the main altar was donated by the Parishioners, and was blessed on December 8, 1858,

The Blessed Virgin side altar was donated by Mrs. Helen MacDonell, wife of George MacDonell (Athol).

The St. Joseph side altar was the gift of Duncan MacDonald (Blacksmith) from Martintown.

The Stations of the Cross which are oil paintings, were purchased by Rev. Father McCarthy in Paris, France, when he was on a trip to Rome and they were erected and blessed by Bishop Horan of Kingston in February 1872.

The Bell a gift of Mr. and Mrs. John Hay was consecrated, the same day as the cemetery in 1849.

The Holy water font at the back of the church was given in 1855 by Donald MacDonald (Gore).

In 1916 the church was completely renovated and re-decorated by the New York firm of Panzerommi Bros. Canvasses representing Religious Mysteries were painted in their New York studios and applied to the vaulted ceilings which give the church a touch of the artist.

In the sanctuary are two beautiful stained glass windows. On the east side, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in memory of the late (Angus MacIan Dhu) MacDonald. On the west side is portrayed the sacrifice of the Canadian Martyrs in memory of the late John Chisholm.

Williamstown can claim to have the first stained glass windows commemorating our Canadian Martyrs, Father Breboeuf and Father Lalemont, who were killed by Indians and a shrine was erected in their honour in Midland, Ontario.

The Chimes were installed, a donation from Mr. and Mrs. Louis Latreille helped finance this undertaking.

The Parish Hall between the house and the Vestry was built in 1969.

Following Vatican 11, many churches had their altars removed. St. Mary's retained their altars, and the Holy table, on which Holy sacrifice of the Mass was offered for 125 years was moved a few feet from the main altar where Mass is now offered.

On September 1, 1865, the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame from Montreal opened their Day and Boarding School, and in 1887 it was the most successful academy in the Diocese of Kingston. In July, 1892, the convent was burned to the ground.

On July 10 1867, The Right Rev. E. J. Horan, Bishop of Kingston, conferred upon Rev. Walter Barett, Deacon, the Sacred Order of the Priesthood.

On December 14, 1868 took place the funeral of Rev. Walter Barrett, aged 34 years. His remains are interred beneath the floor in the Sanctuary on the gospel side of the altar.

St. Alice school was erected in 1957, and the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Ottawa were in charge until it closed in 1973. The building was acquired from the school board and is now used as a Community Centre.

St. Williams Parish in Martintown was a mission of St. Mary's until 1949 when it became a parish.


"On June 17, 1863 was made for the first time in the Parish of Williamstown the public procession of the Most Blessed Sacrament. The canopy was carried by six gentlemen from the parish, and twelve little girls in white strewed the way with flowers."

"On September 8, 1862, the devotion of the "Forty Hours" Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament was established in the Mission of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Williamstown. This is the first Mission in the Diocese of Kingston where this devotion has taken place. At the event 853 persons approached the tribunal of Penance and received Holy Communion, 83 persons were confirmed, most of whom were adults."

"The Sisters of Charity from Kingston made their first collection here in the winter of 1869 realizing about $300.00
"That same winter a "Tridium" was held in Lent by order of His Lordship the Bishop."

"Up until 1907 the church was heated by large box stoves placed in the centre aisle of the church. A gift from a parishioner enabled them to put in a wood furnace, the coils being placed at the back and front of the church.

During Rev. Albert MacRae's tenure as pastor, an altar society was formed by the ladies of the parish. Their duty at that time was to look after the needs of the altar, and assist in all spiritual and charitable work. When Rev. Alex L. MacDonald was pastor the altar society was re-organized and became St. Mary's Ladies Guild which continues to serve the parish.

The above information is taken from a brochure.

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Courtenay, BC V9N 2X2
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