About Us

History of Holy Name of Mary Parish

History of Holy Name of Mary Parish


In 1849 Dean Thaddeus Kirwin was appointed to tend to the spiritual needs of the already growing Catholic families in the settlement of St. Marys.  The first celebration of the Mass was held in Patrick Whelihan’s General Store on the south west corner of Queen and Water Streets, now the M & M Variety Store.


In 1854 a small log cabin church was built on Church Street but almost as soon as it was built it proved too small.  In 1858 on the Widder Street hillside property, a small white-frame church building was constructed.  The first stone church was erected in 1861.


Following Father Kirwin was Father W. B. Hannett and the first Pastor, Father A. Boubat was appointed in 1866.  He built the rectory and opened the first Catholic Separate School in 1867.  That first school consisted of 2 rooms in the rectory.


In 1875, Father E. Delehanty was named Pastor and purchased the entire block of property on which the church now stands.  In 1876, Fr. Delehanty also built a two-room school facing Peel Street and further additions were made in 1958, 1962 and 1965.


In 1878 Father Philip Brennan became Pastor and remained for 31 years.  During his time at Holy Name the present gothic-style church was constructed using white stone quarried at St. Marys.  The Corner Stone was blessed and laid on September 11, 1892.  A convent was constructed to the North side of the rectory in 1913 and the Sisters of St. Joseph took charge of the school.


In 1946 Father P. J. Harrigan redecorated the church interior and the Reverend Msgr. V. H Grespan completed a major interior renovation in 1983.  A new school was opened on May 12, 1974 and the Parish Hall was opened in 1991 on the 125th Anniversary of the Parish.


Resident Pastors of Holy Name of Mary Parish


1852 – 1861    Father Kirwin                                      


1861 – 1866    Father W. B. Hannett                         


1866 – 1868    Father A. Boubat                                


1868 – 1869    Father J. O’Neil                                  


1869 – 1873    Father E. B. Kilroy                             


1873 – 1875    Father George Oulette                       


1875 – 1878    Father E. Delehanty


1878 – 1909    Father Philip Brennan                                                


1909 – 1910    Father W. J. Kelly (Adm.)


1910 – 1933    Father John Ronan


1933 – 1945    Father John P. Brennan        


1945 – 1966    Rev. Msgr. P. J. Harrigan


1966 – 1975    Rev. Msgr. L. A. Wemple


1975 – 1980    Father C. P. Fitzgerald


1980 – 1987    Rev. Msgr. V. H. Grespan


1987 – 1993    Father Charles Campbell


1993 – 1997    Father Richard Tremblay


1997 – 2001    Father R. Brian Hunter


2001 – 2004    Father Christopher Bourdeau


2004 – 2009    Father Ross Bartley


2009 -             Father Philip Joseph