In 1816 the Vicar General of Upper Canada, Alexander MacDonell purchased land in Prescott to build a chapel. Bishop MacDonell also participated in the raid on Ogdensburg, N.Y. in 1813. The first church built on that land was around the year 1823.
The first pastor of St. Mark Parish was Father Timothy O’Meara who was appointed in 1828. The current church structure was consecrated on October 21, 1888.
The interior was decorated in 1906 by the Panzeroni Brothers.
In 1881 Father John Masterson was appointed to St. Mark Parish and remained until 1921. During his forty year tenure St. Mark Parish saw much growth and activity such as the construction of the current church, a horse and rig barn (St. Mark Club), interior and exterior refurbishing of the rectory as well as the arrival of the Sisters of Providence who occupied the Crane house.
The Sisters of Providence arrived in 1905 and laboured in the red brick St Mark Catholic School for fifty years until it became overcrowded and too dilapidated to warrant restoration. It was replaced by a more modern school in 1956, St. Mark Catholic School, on Edward Street. Four years later additional class space was required and a second school, St. Joseph Catholic School, was built in McAuley Gardens.
The Sisters were renowned for teaching skills and standards especially in the area of music and had an inspiring presence over the years. Sadly the convent was closed in 1987.
Between the period of 1987 and 2006, the Knights of Columbus Council 5880 was responsible for the former convent, now known as Crane House. The council made use of the building for their meeting and other community projects.
A grand tribute to the dedication of the Sisters of Providence is evident in the construction of a brand new St. Mark Catholic School in 2009 on the former site of St. Joseph Catholic School. Stained Glass windows from the old convent have been erected in the new school.
PRIESTS of St. Mark, Prescott
Father Timothy O’Meara 1828 – 1831
Father Patrick Foley 1831 – 1832
Father J. W. Campion 1832 – 1843
Father J. Clark (Overlaps with Fr. Campion) 1841 – 1843
Father D. Farrelly 1843 – 1844
Father Edmund P. Roche 1844 – 1874
Father J. O’Donnell 1874 – 1881
Monsignor J. Masterson 1881 – 1921
Father J. P. Hartigan 1922 – 1927
Father J. P. Fleming 1927 – 1931
Father Charles J. Mea 1931 – 1943
Father J. H. McDonald 1943 – 1950
Father Martin E. James 1950 – 1958
Father Joseph Shannon 1958 – 1965
Father W. P. Healey 1966 – 1974
Father Peter F. Murphy 1974 – 1983
Monsignor Bernard J. Walsh 1983 – 1998
Father John Appelman 1998 – 2010
Father Brent Brennan 2010 to present
St. Mark History courtesy of… “The St. Mark Story”, a book by Barbara Seargeant.
In 1875, through the efforts of Father O’Donnell and Father Masterson of Prescott, Ontario, the present church was constructed on land donated by W. G. Benson of the Canada Starch Company.
Prior to the building of Sacred Heart Church, Parishioners celebrated the Eucharist in Dixon’s Corners. Often the priest from Mariatown, near Morrisburg would travel to Cardinal and would Celebrate the Eucharist in the homes of local parishioners.
Sacred Heart Parish was a Mission Church of St. Mark the Evangelist in Prescott, Ontario for approximately 48 years.
In 1923 Sacred Heart became a separate Parish with Father Gorman as the first parish priest. Various changes have taken place in the Church over the years.
In 1947, on its 25th Anniversary, the church was redecorated: stained glass windows, new Stations of the Cross, and a pipe organ were installed.
During Father Harold Wiley’s time as parish priest, the pipe organ, which had originally been purchased from St. Mark the Evangelist, was replaced by an electric organ.
In 1995, a new electronic organ was donated by the Procyk family. The Knights of Columbus have always played a significant role in life of the parish.
In 1962, a Knights of Columbus Council was formed in Cardinal, with Garnet Gilligan as its first Grand Knight.
The Council was affiliated with Kemptville. Prior to 1962, members of the Knights of Columbus from Cardinal were affiliated with Brockville.
Since 1966, the Cardinal Council of the Knights of Columbus have been affilated with the Prescott Council #5880.
As with the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Women’s League played an important part in the life of the parish.
Obviously, the Catholic Women’s League were also a very important early presence in the Parish in Cardinal. Records indicate that the League was re-established in 1949, with Ethel Borman as President.
Currently members of the Catholic Women’s League from Sacred Heart are affiliated with the St. Mark Council in Prescott.
Sacred Heart Parish has seen two of its “native sons” ordained to the priesthood.
In April 1949, John Buckley, son of Timothy and Mary Buckley, was ordained in Kingston, Ontario. Father Buckley celebrated the Eucharist for the first time in Sacred Heart Parish on April 24th, 1949.
On May 16, 1969, Sacred Heart Parish witnessed its first ordination when Archbishop Wilhelm came from Kingston to ordain Kennneth Stitt, son of Kenneth and Mary Stitt.
Father Stitt also celebrated the Eucharist for the first time in Cardinal.
In 1975, the Parish celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the founding of Sacred Heart Church. A parish retreat was held and on June 1, there was a parish dinner at St. Paul Anglican Church Hall.
On March 11, 1984, a Parish Centre, designed by Parishioner Jack Marin, was officially opened. Archbishop Spence delivered the blessing and Father Raby was the guest speaker.
On September 10, 2000, the Parish celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding as a mission of St. Mark Parish in Prescott.
In 2001, parish meetings were held throughout the Diocese of Kingston to consider the clustering of certain parishes .
In 2002, Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish was clustered with the parish of St. Mark the Evangelist in Prescott.
The Parish Rectory, which had been built during Father Michael Reed’s time, was sold in October 2003.
PRIESTS of SACRED HEART, CARDINAL
Father Leo Gorman 1923 – 1925
Father Martin James 1925 – 1950
Father Harold Wiley 1950 – 1963
Father J. E. Trainer 1963 – 1967
Father Michael Farrell 1967 – 1968
Father Ray Shannon 1968 – 1969
Father Leo Byrne 1969 – 1975
Father Edward Keyes 1975 – 1986
Father Michael Reed 1986 – 1992
Father William Powell 1992 – 2002
Father John Appelman 2002 – 2010
Father Brent Brennan 2010 to present
Sacred Heart History courtesy of… Corrinne Miller.
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