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LOOKING BACK - The Parish Church
The New Parish Church of Holy Redeemer began in 1958 and was blessed September 27,
1960 by His Grace Archbishop Skinner.
This was a great undertaking and eagerly awaited by all parishioners. The former Church
was built by the parishioners and the later Father Jeremiah O’Neil. He died in 1861. It
was worth relating that during his seminary days Father O’Neil was imprisoned and
sentenced to death. This happened in France during the French Revolution. He survived
it all, was ordained and served in this Parish. His remains were supposed to rest
underneath this church. It was he who began the parish register. The baptismal register
dates from 1843. Father Thomas Hennebury succeeded him.
Later years saw this Church renovated in a cruciform design. This occurred during the
pastor ship of Father William Born. A document testifies to this work. Therin the names
of parish donors and a written account in Latin attesting to the blessing and dedication by
the late Archbishop Howley. The manuscript is dated October 23, 1899. Father Born is
venerated in the two stain glass windows now in the Parish Church.
Before going on to the new building it is fitting to pay a profound tribute to the devoted
parish workers of that generation. They have passed on to us a heritage of goodness as
exemplifier, which inspires us to continue as they have.
Their example urge us to give to our world something of ourselves and not to expect the
contrary, of what the world is to give us. The workmanship in this wooden building was
not plain or simple, but superbly artistic. This could be seen in the masterful work of the
pillars, the staining, the varnishing and the overhead artistry. The building was narrow
but there was much to compensate: the tall stain glass colourful descriptive windows, the
large crucifix, Our Lady of Lourdes grotto, the symbolic carvings; all stimulated a
reverence and devotion to the things that matter. Here in this lamp lit, simulated heated
church, the holy week services were done to perfection. It could be thought that the choir
in chanting the prophecies and the lamentations had been trained by the Benedictine
monks of Solesmes. For these years what thoughts they awaken! Perhaps we may sense
This new Church entailed much supervision. A number of plans were looked at before
the final approval. There were drawn up by the late Edward Foran, City clerk of St.
John’s under the supervision of the City Planner from England. Bill Chard from
R.O’Neil Limited was the foreman who worked with carpenters from Trepassey. Ton
Brewer from St. John’s supervised the electrical work together with Lex Sullivan.
Neither Mr. Foran or Mr. Brewer received any recompense. Their time was given freely.
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LOOKING BACK - The Parish Church
The stain glass windows were imported from Holland as well as the large bronze crucifix.
This is attached to cypress wood and fastened to the concrete wall as you enter the
building. It was donated by Fannie Devereaux. There is another crucifix as you enter the
vestibule. This came from the old Church. The one shows Christ dying and the other
represents Christ dead. The altar rail was donated by the late George Devereaux and the
altar of sacrifice by Larry Waddleton. Also a statue of Saint Ann donated by Mrs.
The Parish received a substantial sum of money from a frequent visitor to Trepassey. He
heard that a new building was to be built. At a wedding he shook the hands on the
promise to pay this amount when the Church was completed. He honoured his pledge.
One thousand letters were printed to be mailed outside the Parish soliciting funds. These
were purchased from a firm selling addresses for fund raising. These were catalogued as
wealthy executives, married, and single with graduated income. The price varied
according to the group selected. The lot purchased cost $25.00. It was considered worth
trying even [….illegible….] in writing, parish sealing and addressing with return address.
The postage stamps were no liability. The total amount received for soliciting was
$45.00. Only three hundred were mailed and twenty-four answered. One who answered
seemed to be a very fine person and educated considering his degrees. One other who
answered was very […illegible…] in acquiring of her address. She was willing to
contribute anything except her sarcastic remarks concerning the Catholic Church relating
to legislation on birth control. She was not a Catholic but had just completed a visit to
Rome. It was thought afterwards that most everything tried for easy money. To consult a
telephone directory might be the same gamble. These addresses were from Texas where
the poorest of the poor reside except a large percentage of the rich. The psychology of
begging may teach a lot!
The construction meant hard work. Handling cement is not easy. It meant much in the
gathering of beach and sand. For several days and weeks we waited for the proper
aggregates of stone to be gathered together and not all over the beach.
It was considered to haul the beach over frozen Fanny’s Pond. This was decided against.
A plentiful supply was seen on the bar beach. To truck this meant building a road to the
beach and over the beach. The Lord was with us and before early spring, hundreds of
these materials were trucked on the spot for a beginning. Cement mixers were engaged
and the mixed cement was passed by hand on to the scaffold to fill in the forms. Slowly a
shape, form and design – the birth of a new Church. It included time, labour, and
materials and certain amount of skill.
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LOOKING BACK - The Parish Church
Late in October 1959 the foreman was laid off. The main structure with walls and roof
were now completed. Lax Sullivan acted as foreman for the completion of the interior.
This included the panelling, ceiling, sparkling, sanding, painting and varnishing. The
pews of American oak were the last to finish the work.
The completed cost of the Church was announced in later years. It amounted to
$110,000.00. Included were the pews and auditorium. Some small costs have been
added since. Today this cost could be half a million dollars. Accountable for this low
price was: cheap labour, free labour, wholesale prices for lumber at North Sydney and
An interesting event occurred during this time. Robert Whiffen was in charge of a
schooner en route from St. Albans to Trepassey. The cargo of lumber aboard was at
stake. A reef near Cape Pine had been struck due to a heavy fog. The ship was leaking
badly. Happily a tranquil sea prevailed. Whiffen and crew managed to steer the craft to
shallow water near the lower coast. Even though the building material was strewn all
over the beach, not a foot was missing. Thus was saved fifth-five thousand feet of
lumber. The Lord was with us.
Parishioners of those years can be a proud people, and future generations may well sense
the echo of their words:
“WE PUT THIS CHURCH HERE”
Let us go in to praise God. Let us go out to continue. And always to remember God
loves us and now and whatever we may be.
Your duty, your reward – your destiny - are here and now.
God Bless you with a happiness here and
BLISSFUL HAPPINESS HEREAFTER
Fr. F. J. Mullowney
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Stella Maris High School: This began in 1962 and opened in 1964. The Parish received
a grant of $50,000.00 to do this work. This amount was insufficient, taking into account
parish contributions in money and free labour. Then Fishery Products Ltd. had most men
employed and a lot of free labour could not be expected. Workers made up in donating a
portion of their earnings.
With the main structure completed financial help was requested. The request was not
granted. Grants were then allocated by the Government to the various denominations for
the erection of schools. To make another request it was feared a further delay would be
forthcoming. The work was continued after selling interest-paying bonds. But it was
hard going – a parish church had just been finished. Furthermore men had to be paid,
unemployment insurance books stamped, bills paid and records kept, and no secretary or
R.S. Rodgers was engaged to do the plumbing and heating. Lex Sullivan was the
foreman and together with local carpenters engaged, and free labour, the job was
finished. The electrical wiring was supervised by Thomas Brewer of St. John’s. his time
was given freely. The trucking of sand, beach and cement were also free. The completed
cost of Stella Maris was estimated to be $114,000.00.
At times we may read only lines and not between the lines or beyond the line of things,
events, personal or otherwise. At lot could be said for the building of those big cement
jobs. Never, ever can it be forgotten of the excellent spirit or corporation of everyone.
There were praying hands, playing hands (card parties), helping hands and giving hands.
Most of the material as for the Church was freely at our disposal - beach rocks, thousands
of years old, perhaps millions of years old. Those were nearly polished and moulded by
the long and patient surf and sand which brought no sweat from anyone to manufacture
except aged time and thrashing hands of the sea.
NEVER CAN IT BE SAID THAT THE GOVT. OR SCHOOL BOARD PALL ALL
Since this time there are other costs borne by the Parish. The school board has no money
to pay so this is why here written that it may be realized where money goes: Lockers for
Stella Maris (the cost already given). Renovation last summer costing $9,565.00,
Industrial Art room equipment - $2,106.00, Laboratory - $10,000.00. This covers
removing, trucking, labour and installing.
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The New Elementary School
The following is a summary cost of the New Elementary School as borne by Trepassey
To John Furey Ltd. $125,000.00
To Southern Construction Ltd.
Water and sewerage, Excavation, asbestos pipe, manholes hydrants, back filling –
Labour and Fence $1,011.00
Paving entrance to School and basement $6,000.00
Back filling by High roads to prepare for paving $320.00
Building porch and basement entrance, in order to remove garbage and bring
in supplies. $1,209.00
Sodding lawn and in front of School $276.00
Cement used for basement and Porch $340.00
Hire of compressor $500.00
Materials used to finish Janitor room (supply room) as well as cafeteria
supply room $395.06
TOTAL COST: $164,453.20