This year, 2017, marks 175 continuous years of service to our community by the Holy Name of Mary Parish in Almonte. What a remarkable achievement! A quarter century before Confederation, in 1842, Daniel Shipman gifted one and a half acres of land at the present site of HNM Church to Fr. John Hugh McDonough to establish what was then known as Holy Mary Mission Church in Shipmans Mills. The 12m X 18m frame church was constructed in 1842.
The small community of Shipman’s Mills on the Mississippi River started to flourish in the mid 1850s, and in 1856 the town was officially named Almonte after the Mexican General and diplomat. The original wooden church burned to the ground Christmas night 1868. Immediately the faithful of the Parish joined together to raise sufficient funds to construct the existing stone Church. The new Church was about twice the size of the old wooden Church. One year later, on Christmas Day 1869; parishioners gathered for Mass at dawn. Three years later St. Mary’s became a Parish in the Diocese of Bytown.
On October 7 1875 the Church was consecrated by Bishop J.T. Duhamel. From that date to the present successive parish clergy and congregations have maintained the essential character of the Church structure and over time made structural and other improvements to preserve the integrity of the building.
Fr. Paul J. Gaudet the current Parochial Administrator of Holy Name of Mary Parish invites parishioners and indeed all residents of Mississippi Mills to celebrate this historic milestone for our community. The Parish will commemorate the generosity of those parishioners who have gone before and those of the present day with several events throughout the year including a commemorative Mass on September 17th to be celebrated by Most Reverend Terrance Prendergast, SJ, Archbishop of the Diocese of Ottawa. Past parish clergy and other guests will be invited to attend as well. The Mass will be followed by a luncheon at the Civitan. Congratulations to Mississippi Mills and to the Holy Name of Mary Parish!
Submitted by Jim Moore on behalf of the HNM Parish