St. Do­minic’s fi­nal mass

TINY PARISH whose church never got built will gather for one last time this month

Montreal Gazette - - Montreal - ALAN HUSTAK THE GAZETTE

St. Do­minic’s parish in Montreal never had a church build­ing to call its own, but a hand­ful of worshippers bound by a deep con­nec­tion didn’t let that bother them.

For al­most a cen­tury, parish­ioners wor­shipped in the base­ment of a church that was never com­pleted at the cor­ner of de Lorim­ier Ave. and Gil­ford St .

The parish was founded in 1912 for English-speak­ing Catholics in the Plateau, and in spite of great plans, it never man­aged to raise enough money to com­plete construction.

Af­ter the build­ing’s pres­bytery and base­ment was sold to the city in 1975, the site was turned into a com­mu­nity gar­den. The parish­ioners moved into a store­front build­ing on Mount Royal Ave., where they re­mained un­til 1990. Since then, they’ve been shar­ing space with St. Casimir’s Church on Parthenais St.

On Sept. 21, the re­main­ing mem­bers of St. Do­minic’s parish will gather for a fi­nal mass at 2 p.m.

“Mem­o­ries just flood back, said Edna-May MacKen­zie, who was one of the first al­tar girls in the parish. “My three broth­ers were all al­tar boys, my brother Ger­ald led the folk mass. I don’t think they had al­tar girls in other parishes, but Fa­ther Peter McG­lynn was a great leader, he got the girls in and put them on the al­tar.”

Edith Sévi­gny mar­ried in the parish in 1949, and has served as a war­den off and on for 30 years. She finds it hard to have to say good­bye.

“In 1975, when we left the base­ment church, we had 900 peo­ple. Now we’re down to about a dozen,” she said. “But some­day peo­ple in the area will want to come back to church, and there is not go­ing to be a church for them to go to.”

Pa­trick Lam­bert, who was an al­tar boy at St. Do­minic’s, says he’s sad­dened to see the end of an era.

“As a parish we were some­thing to be­hold,” he said. “In my time in the ’40s, we were a multi-lin­gual parish – Pol­ish, Ir­ish, Ukraini­ans, Ital­ians and French, peo­ple with all kinds of for­eign names came to mass. It’s sad to know there’s no longer any­one around to carry on.”

The parish still has a bowl­ing league, one of the old­est in the prov­ince, and hopes to keep it go­ing.

Parish­ioners also want the city to change the name of de Lormier Gar­dens, where the church was sup­posed to be built, to St. Do­minic’s Gar­dens.

“We’d like to see a plaque, or have some kind of his­tor­i­cal recog­ni­tion,” MacKen­zie said. “We want fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to know that there was an Ir­ish- Scots Catholic parish in the Plateau, so at least some­thing re­mains be­hind.”

Twenty five years ago, there were 256 parishes in the arch­dio­cese, 39 of them op­er­at­ing in English. With the clos­ing of St. Do­minic’s, 233 parishes re­main, 27 of them for English­s­peak­ing con­gre­ga­tions.

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