First Church, First Parish

Passenger and freight trains began to run in 1885 and not long after, ore deposits were discovered in the area.  Sudbury's economy diversified and the population grew rapidly.  In one year, from January 1886 to January 1887, the Catholic population grew from 193 to 376 members.  Father Nolin's chapel was no longer adequate and the mission, now directed by Father Hormidas Caron, undertook to build a church.  The first stone was consecrated in the fall of 1887 during the first pastoral visit by Monsignor Thomas Joseph Dowling, Bishop of Peterborough, who came to confirm 36 of the faithful.

Construction of the church would take two years.  When the first mass was celebrated in 1889, Sainte-Anne-des-Pins saw its clergy increase by three new members and its status change from mission to parish.

Sainte-Anne-des-Pins 1894. Photo courtesy of the Greater Sudbury Historical Database.The church, which was very large for the needs of the population, was divided into three parts: a church, a school and a parish hall.  In March of 1894, the church was destroyed by fire and a smaller church was rebuilt that same year.  Participation by numerous representatives of other denominations in the fundraising and opening ceremony showed the harmony that reigned in the community at the time.

Ten years later, in 1904, the Diocese of Peterborough split into two.  The parishes and missions of New Ontario, including Sainte-Anne-des-Pins parish, belonged from then on to the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie under the direction of Monsignor Scollard.

That same year saw the construction of Jubilee Hall, the parish hall that would be the centre of activities for the parish and often the community.  More and more, the clergy recruited lay persons to help with projects.  Throughout the parish were religious, social and cultural activities around which parish life and the French way of living were organized.

In 1914, the need for an English-language parish was being felt more and more.  As opinions were divided on the idea of splitting the parish, the priest of the time delayed division and chose to enlarge Sainte-Anne church.

Until 1928, the parish would also accommodate Ukrainian Catholics who had neither a church nor religious services in their rites.  Sainte-Anne would often accommodate their priests who wanted to bring their congregation together for Ukrainian religious services.

Sainte-Anne parish would be divided three times.  The first division occurred on the basis of language and gave birth to St. Joseph's parish, which would later become Christ the King.  By the fall of 1949, 1200 families still remained in Sainte-Anne parish despite losing 600 to Saint-Jean-de-Brébeuf in 1930 and 400 to Saint-Eugène in May of 1949.


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