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Our Lady of Lourdes Church Cardiff

Of all the parishes in the Peterborough Diocese, the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, raised to parish status in 1958, is the only parish in the County of Haliburton. Presently it includes the Missions of Highland Grove and Chandos. The present parish was a mission of Kinmount during the pastorate of Father Charles Kay and some details of it’s beginnings are found in the history of Kinmount Parish. In 1956, new companies started springing up because of the prospects of Uranium deposit around Center and Paudash Lakes in the extreme eastern part of Kinmount parish.

New modern bungalows started springing up, providing homes for the workers of the Bancroft Uranium and Canadian Dyno Mines. Of the many new comers who moved to the area, fifty percent was Catholic, one hundred and twenty five families, mostly French Canadian from Northern Ontario and the Province of Quebec. Mass was celebrated on portable altars in private homes and later in a room of the Public School, by Father Charles Kay, Pastor of Kinmount.

To initiate a fund for the building of a Church, Fr. Kay organized bingos, bake sales and lotteries. Once construction started, Fr. Kay who had an assistant in Kinmount spent much of his time on the town site in visiting the families and supervising the construction. On June 18th 1958, Bishop Webster erected the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes to consist of the Township of Cardiff and Monmouth and to include the mission of St. John Vianney at Highland Grove which serves the people of Wilberforce and the tourists in the vicinity of Lakes Baptiste, Farquhar and Elephant. On the same day, the Bishop appointed Father John Weiss, pastor of Kearney, to be the incumbent of the new parish. In the autumn of 1970, the mission of Minden was transferred to our Lady of Lourdes Church so as to help Kinmount Parish which handled four Churches at this time. The Mission of Chandos was eventually transferred to Our Lady of Lourdes in 1988 and together with the mission of Highland Grove make up the Cardiff parish until today.

Mission of St. Jean Vianney, Highland Grove

The chapel of St. Jean Vianney serves the villages of Highland Grove and Wilberforce as well as the surrounding areas, the lakes of which attract a large number of cottagers and tourists. The first priest to provide spiritual care for the early settlers in Haliburton County was Father McInerney, the parish priest of Maynooth who came into the area at the request of William Ayotte Sr. Fr. McInerney was followed by Father Warnock both of whom belonged to the Diocese of Pembroke. It was comparatively easy for the pastors of Maynooth to visit the villages along the I.B and O Railway on their way to Haliburton Village which belonged to the Diocese of Pembroke.

In 1915, an arrangement between Bishop Ryan of Pembroke and Bishop O’Brien of Peterborough transferred the care of the villages of the I.B and O Railway to the parish of Kinmount of which father James Guiry was pastor at the time. In Highland Grove, Mass was celebrated in Peel’s Hall and later in the homes of William Ayotte, Charles McMahon at Wilberforce, L.J. Harrison at Peterson’s Corners and I. Alcorn in Haliburton. Peel’s Hall was destroyed by fire during the Christmas season of 1938. In January 1939, Bishop Dennis O’Connor decided that a chapel be built. One-half acre in Lot 25 of Concession 20 of Cardiff Township was purchased from Thomas Covert for the sum of forty-five dollars. The lot was heavily wooded and Mr. Covert retained the right to remove the trees.

In the spring of 1939, the lot was cleared of stumps and brush by Frank Doherty who built thereon a cabin, eighteen feet by sixteen feet. During July and August, Mass was celebrated on Sundays in this cabin. Meanwhile, a basement was blasted out of rock and a foundation prepared. A building identical to the chapel at Miner’s bay was erected to accommodate sixty persons. On December 12, the chapel was blessed and dedicated by Bishop Dennis O’Connor who canonically erected a restored set of Stations of the Cross provided by Father V. McFadden. The cost of the construction and furnishing was approximately three thousand dollars. By 1940, there was no debt on the chapel, because of donations from diocesan clergy and lay persons in Peterborough, Lindsay, Cobourg and Toronto. The bell for the chapel was a dinner bell donated by John O’Brien of Bancroft.

Improved roads during the fifties made it possible to have two Masses offered in Highland Grove. The priest in attendance of the mission were recipients of the generous hospitality provided in the homes of Charles McMahon, Mr. and Mrs. John Mangan and Robert Elliot in Wilberforce and in the Homes of the Ayotte families in Highland Grove. The mission of Highland Grove is still a part of the Cardiff parish until today

Mission of The Purification of The Blessed Virgin Mary, Chandos

In 1885 the lumber industry attracted two families by the name of O’Brien from Douro Township to the Township of Chandos. These were followed by the Scott family from Wellington Township and were later joined by the Horan, Finnerty, Hogan and Mahoney families. By 1870 some thirty families comprised Scott’s settlement. The first priest to visit the area was Father Daniel O’Connell of Duoro who celebrated Mass in the home of Patrick Scott in 1867.

In the year 1870, according to the testimony of one of the oldest residents in the area in 1931, construction of a church was undertaken. Approximately $800 was collected in the lumber camps and from other sources in support of the project. A site on the south end of Lot Eight of Concession Thirteen was chosen. It was not until February 15, 1883 that the new church was blessed and dedicated by Bishop Jamot who was accompanied by Father O’Connell of Duoro and John Maloney, Reeve of Duoro and Warden of Peterborough County. Records reveal that thirty two persons received the sacrament of Confirmation on this occasion. Some twenty years later a vestry was added and the interior sheathed with matched lumber.

The Chandos Mission was moved from one parish to another so many times. In 1884, it became attached to St. Peter’s Cathedral for a period of nearly fifteen years, and in 1886 Bishop Jamot promised that Mass would be celebrated every three months in the Mission. When Young’s Point became a parish with Father M. F Fitzpatrick as pastor in 1898, Chandos became affiliated with Young’s Point. In 1906, it was returned to the care of the Cathedral. Five years later it was placed under the care of Father George F. Whibbs of Campbellford who, at the time, had an assistant in the person of Father D. A Casey. In 1913, when Father Fergus O’Brien became pastor of Lakefield, the Chandos Mission was attached to Lakefield. In 1988, Chandos was transferred to Cardiff Parish and has continued to be served therefrom until today