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A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE VALLEY FAMILY OF CHURCHES & PARISHES

The first recorded mass held in Middleton was in 1909 in a private home. Public facilities were then used.  Priests came from Halifax, Morden and Kentville respectively.  In 1945, with the establishment of CFB Greenwood, the number of Catholics increased in the area and Bishop McNally assigned Fr. Wm. Stone to look after the 3 towns of Annapolis, Bridgetown and Middleton.  The Catholic Women’s Guild was begun and the next Pastor, Fr. Pepper encouraged them to fundraise for the building of a church.

In 1948, Fr. Emmett Baxter O.M.I. was assigned as Director of Annapolis.  Fr. Baxter who had founded 3 churches in B.C., purchased the site in Jan., 1949 and by March his plans for the church were approved by the Archbishop who suggested a female patron saint such as St. Monica after which to name the church.  As soon as the exterior of the church was completed, the first mass was offered with about 20 families present plus many airmen. Nail kegs and lumber used for seating.  By July 19, 1950 Fr. Baxter writes “We have completed our church at Middleton.”

In July 1953, the Diocese of Yarmouth was formed with Bishop Lemenager serving as its first Bishop. On July 16, 1959, Bishop Lemenager issued a Decree, Canonically erecting St. Monica’s Mission, in Middleton, into a Parish with the Church of St. Brigid of East Dalhousie, as a Mission,  to be effective the 6th day of August, 1959, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord.

Rev. Louis Theriault was given the honour of being the first Pastor.  He added parking facilities, had amber coloured windows put in the church, purchased a new organ, renovated the heating system and acquired pews. The first mission preached in the parish was in Nov.1960, by Rev. Louis Maillet, C.P., uncle of parishioner, Jeannette Leonard.  In 1964 the parish was debt free, only 14 years after the church was built. Later in the year, construction was begun on a Parish Hall.  The St. Monica’s Ladies Guild met there for the first time on Feb. 2, 1965.  A complete renovation of the sanctuary according to Vatican II directives took place at the same time.

 

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