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This work of the late Very Reverend Michael Brosnan, P.P., was begun in 1920. For over twenty years he was engaged in untiring research in its preparation. But for his persevering, labors this important and interesting epoch of our history might have been almost entirely lost. We are under a great debt of gratitude to him for this careful and painstaking presentation of the early history of our Diocese.
Through the impenetrable mysteries of Divine Providence, Father Brosnan was called to his reward at an early age when his work as an historian was really about to begin. This present work, however, will remain as a notable contribution to the annals of the Church in West Newfoundland.
Father Brosnan traces the history of the Church from its very beginnings on the West Coast. After giving an account, brief indeed, but full as the records afford, of the almost legendary pioneer, Right Reverend Alexis Belanger. V.G., he passes on to the Right Reverend Thomas Sears, whose personal history is the history of the Church on the West during his time.
The life of the first Prefect Apostolic of the West Coast is indeed an inspiration to us all. This account of his activities by Father Brosnan will be read throughout Newfoundland and even beyond its shores with avid interest.
Perhaps the greatest and certainly one of the greatest, benefits conferred on the Prefecture of St. George's by Monsignor Sears was to interest his cousin, the late Monsignor Andrew Sears, in taking, up his missionary work in Newfoundland. The late Monsignor Andrew ranks even above his cousin as a pioneer and builder of the Church. His fifty-five years of missionary work were most fruitful and the history of his career is an embodiment of the history of St. George's Diocese during, those fifty-five years.
It was the late Monsignor Andrew Sears who was instrumental in having the writer of these pages give his priestly life to St. George's. Both were born in the shadow of Macgillicuddy Reeks in a region that gave in every generation ardent missionaries to far flung fields all over the world.
The establishing and the growth of the Catholic Church is a matter of history. Its Divine Founder is the greatest figure of all time. The importance therefore, of the accurate relation of the history of the Church cannot be over emphasized. Father Brosnan has been scrupulous in his care to give the objective facts correctly. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. The true chronicling of its growth and development must necessarily play its part in attaining "To the unity of Faith ... to the full measure of the stature of Christ."
Bishop of St. George's.
Transcribed by Bill Crant, Elmsdale, NS Canada, by permission of St. George's Diocese, St. George's, Newfoundland
Page Revised: February - 2003 (Don Tate)
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