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St. Patrick's Church is a memorial to John Thomas Mullock, Bishop of St. John's (1850-1869). His dream and determination were to construct a cathedral in honor of the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, and to build a church of equal par to the Basilica for the people of St. John's West. With this in mind Bishop Mullock took the first steps to realizing his goal in March of 1852. It was at this time he paid "341 pounds for land at Riverhead for Church, schools, and a convent". In the midst of the heavy expenses for the completion of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, Bishop Mullock still understood the needs of the people of St. John's West, and began a struggle of 29 years work to complete St. Patrick's. Bishop Mullock did not live to see the final product as he died on March 29, 1869 at the age of 62 years.
The construction of St. Patrick's Church was a process of 25 years work and hard labor. A combination of many factors contributed to the many delays with construction, those being sporadic funding and lack of manpower, nevertheless, Bishop Mullock was able to see the foundation work completed before his death. The stone was taken from the Southside Hills at Cudany's Quarry and hauled by hand to the area of the church. This process of hauling 600 tonnes of stone took 4 months to complete, however, the bulk of the massive rock was completed in a 7 day period. Bishop Mullock presided over the services on the occasion of the cornerstone laying on June 24, 1864. In September, 1860, a wooden church was opened to supply the spiritual needs of the people until the church could be finished. This church functioned as the Parish Church for 21 years, after which it was converted to a schoolhouse and today the Deanery now stands in its place.
In 1874, a decade after the foundation had been laid, there was still no further advancement made. Bishop Power, successor of Bishop Mullock, inspired the people to finish the project. Sufficient funds were accumulated to finance the renewal of the labor. The B.I.S. donated 600 pounds, in which erected the 18 massive pillars made of granite. The basic structure was completed and the church was opened and consecrated on August 28, 1881, even though the Church was still not completed. As additional funds were provided, additions were made to the Church. Over the years many renovations and additions were made. The Bell was installed in the newly completed lofty spire in 1915 and the organ was dedicated on May 31, 1931, fifty years after the consecration of St. Patrick's. The station's of the cross were erected on February 17, 1885.
Information and Records for St. Patrick's
I would like to thank Father Dooley for sending me the history and many pictures of St. Patrick's Church
Contributed by Barbara McGrath (July 2000)
Page Revised: July 2002 (Don Tate)
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