St. Stanislaus, St. Pius X and St. Christopher Churches comprise the Pastoral Unit
St. Stanislaus Church
Copper Cliff, ON
The Catholic community in Copper Cliff began in 1886. Records of Ste-Anne-des-Pins indicate that during 1890-91, Father E. Devine ministered regularly at Copper Cliff. He noted, ‘I said mass regularly at Copper Cliff... The conditions were primitive... mass in private boarding houses for the Catholics, mostly foreigners from every country in Europe’.
In the spring of 1892 the Canadian Copper Company gave permission to build a chapel on land donated by a benefactor and by the fall of 1892 a chapel was built. Because of the growing community and the need for a bigger church by 1897 Father J. Brault spearheaded fundraising for the building of a new church. Since the early Polish community had shared in the planning and financing of the church, and the Jesuits had served the mission since 1886, St. Stanislaus Kostka was selected the patron, a young Jesuit who died at the age of eighteen in Rome in 1567. St. Stanislaus Church was blessed and dedicated on October 20, 1898.
In 1900 the mission was elevated to a Parish, and Father L. Ragaru was the first resident pastor 1907. In 1909 the Jesuit Provincial requested that the Jesuits be relieved of administration of St. Stanislaus. Father J.A. Kealy, the first non-Jesuit Pastor left in 1910, and the parish was served from the Pro-Cathedral in North Bay. Until Father T. Crowley’s arrival as Pastor in 1912. Bishop Scollard established the St. Elizabeth Mission in 1914 to address the needs of the growing Italian community, but was closed seven years later.
In the 1950s, due to the inadequacy of the building, under the direction and guidance of Father J. A. Mulligan (1948-1967), the current church was built and dedicated in 1960. Father F. L. Farenzena was the longest serving Pastor (1982-2007), Father Peter Monahan (1920) went on to become the Bishop of Calgary and later the Archbishop of Regina. Numerous vocations have come from St. Stanislaus including the late Auxiliary Bishop B. F. Pappin. St. Stanislaus continues to serve the community.
St. Pius X Church
INCO began building the Town of Lively in 1950. At that time Father J. E. Regan was directed to build a basement church on land rented from INCO. This was completed by 1952 and the site was administered as a Mission of St. Michael Parish in Creighton.
Father J. J. Delaney was appointed Pastor in July 1953 and served in that role until 1965. During that period, the construction of the permanent structure began in 1959 and was blessed by Bishop A. Carter in 1960.
The hall later served as a community dining hall after the tornado of 1970. Meals were supplied by the Salvation Army and members of the various churches took turns serving them.
1987 brought some interesting challenges. In January there was a devastating fire in the living quarters and worship space of St. Pius X Church. A lesson was learned as to what makes church, not the building but rather the community that gathers to celebrate and worship together. Later INCO decommissioned the Town of Creighton Mine and the Parish of St. Michael was closed. The church building was demolished. Records, statuary and other artifacts were incorporated into St. Pius X. The church bell was moved and installed on the front grounds of St. Pius X on Sixth Avenue.
The parish has been served under the leadership of many priests over the years. Many vocations were nurtured in this area too. Father J. M. Sharpe, Father J. A. Hutton, Father W. Fortune, Father R. O. Bourgon, Father T. Moyle, Father M. Williams, Sr. S. Sandberg, C. S. J. and Sr. A. Cassidy, C. S. J. all hail from the Lively / Creighton Area. Three parishioners were called to the permanent diaconate as well; R. Richer, L. Coderre and L. Landriault.
Currently, St. Pius X is successful in responding to the challenge of providing assistance in Christian life, witness, service and worship and in promoting the Kingdom of God as proclaimed in the Sacred Scriptures, Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church.
St. Christopher Church
Bishop A. Carter appointed Father J. Hompes to establish St. Christopher in Whitefish in 1960. Father was very active in the building of the present church and rectory. While awaiting the completion of the building, Masses were held in a nearby barn in Whitefish, and in the basement of the church.
As soon as the church was completed, Father Hompes turned his sights to a Catholic school for the area. Our Lady of Fatima School was opened in 1964.
Before being amalgamated with St. Christopher's Parish, the village of Naughton had a tiny church called St. Philip Neri. Masses were first celebrated on a monthly basis by priests from Sudbury and the surrounding area. In the 1950’s Father Delaney came from Lively every other Sunday, and later, with the help of the Basilian Fathers from St. Charles College, Mass was celebrated every Sunday. The little church continued to be used until 1964 when it was demolished to make room for Our Lady of Fatima School.
The bell at St. Christopher’s, which was christened ‘Maria’ by Father G. Lebel, a Jesuit, was originally ordered for the church at Victoria Mines from the McShane Foundry in Maryland in 1902. From 1902-1913, its unique tone called parishioners to worship. In 1913, the mine was abandoned and the forces of nature took their toll on the church and bell until a storm in 1955 toppled the bell from its perch in the belfry. ‘Maria’ was taken to a barn for safekeeping and forgotten until 1964 when it was discovered and restored. In 1974, Father Hompes learned of its whereabouts and brought it to St. Christopher’s.
Until his retirement in 1980, Father Hompes looked after the spiritual welfare of the parishioners and kept close contact with the children at the school.
The parish has been fortunate in the long services of the priests assigned to it: Father J. Hompes, Father J. Graham, Father A. McMillan, and Father J. Goldie.
For more than 50 years, with the continued support of numerous talented and generous priests and lay people, the community continues to grow in faith, hope and love.