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Like all the other small communities in the Conception Bay central area, Holyrood was settled in the late 1700's and early 1800's primarily by Irish Catholic immigrants. The nearest large center serving the Catholic community at that time was Hr. Grace, with one of the earliest established Catholic parishes in the area. It served not only Hr. Grace, but various mission churches along the coast of Conception Bay. As settlements and communities grew, parishes were established in individual communities. Holyrood was first a mission of Hr. Grace, and later of St. Patrick's in Brigus when it was established in 1824, and then a mission of Hr. Main after a parish was established there in 1857.
In September, 1883 Holy Cross officially became a parish of the diocese of Hr. Grace. Father Gregory Battock served as its first parish priest until 1891. Since his tenure, Holy Cross has had eight other parish priests and six administrators. The parish, even though relatively young, has had three churches. The first, the mission church, was replaced in 1899 by a much larger building. Unfortunately, in 1918 this church was completely destroyed by fire. Father Finn, parish priest at the time, with the support of the congregation undertook to have a new church built immediately. In 1919, Christmas Eve Mass was celebrated in the new building. Some of the older parishioners today can recall selling blueberries or squid or doing odd jobs to help raise their share of the replacement costs. The spirit of cooperation was very strong and had been enhanced even more by the establishment of the Star of the Sea Association in 1902. From it's earlier years to late 1960's Holy Cross Parish, again like the others in the area, was directly responsible for the education in the community. The present Holy Cross Church is the one built in 1919. It has been renovated and modified in recent times to meet the changing needs of today's congregation of about 500 families. A stately church that overlooks the Holyrood Harbor, where it stands as a strong attestation to the faith of generations who have worshipped here over the years.
Information and Records for Holy Cross Roman Catholic Parish
I would like to thank Patricia Penny of the Holyrood Parish for
the history brochure she sent and also to Sister Magdalen O'Brien
for the history and photo of Holy Cross Church.
Contributed by Barbara McGrath (July 2000)
Page Revised by Craig Peterman (February 2004)
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