St. Patrick’s Catholic church was built in 1856 on the corner of West and Thomas streets, at the rural edge of the village of Napanee, Ontario. Its Roman Catholic congregation was mainly Irish, and so the Church was christened St, Patrick’s. There was no money provided for the project by the Archdiocese so the church was built by the parishioners. Today over 150 years later, it is clear that the devotion and determination of St. Patrick’s founding families were well placed. The church’s rough-
It was not until 8 years after the church was built that the parish was granted it’s first Priest, Father J. Brown . Father Brown immediately began to refine the church’s rough edges. New pews were installed, the walls were plastered and painted, a proper alter was added and a sacristy built. On October 28, 1865, Bishop Horan of Kingston arrived in Napanee to bless the new church.
The next significant renovation was the bell tower which was added to the front of the church in 1884. It is likely that the loft was also constructed at this time and stairs leading up to the loft going through the bell tower. In 1912 the east wall of the church was removed and a chancel built which included six stained glass windows and an arched ceiling. The addition of the chancel allowed another six rows of pews to be added to the nave of the church and the stairs leading to the loft to be moved within the main church walls. A large ornate alter was also commissioned. On February 9, 1913, the church was filled to capacity by Catholics and Protestants, who came to witness the dedication of the new chancel by Archbishop Michael J. Spratt.
In 1969, the modernist repercussion of Vatican II swept into St. Patrick’s with the arrival of Father John J. O’Neill. For the first time the liturgy was in English. He removed the old alter, marble rail and new Stations of the Cross were added. The old stone rectory at 75 Thomas Street was sold and a new rectory built beside the church on West Street. The new rectory incorporated a parish hall in the basement. The parking lot was also paved at this time. Under Father O’Neill’s tenure a Catholic School was established in Napanee and the school bears his name.
Today St. Patrick’s continues to thrive. With an active congregation and a solid foundation built on over 150 years of generosity and sacrifice, St. Patrick’s is well positioned to serve Napanee well into the future.
Taken from “A House Worthy of God” by Frank B. Edwards.
For a more in depth account of the history of St. Patrick’s Church please purchase a copy of the book available in the rectory.