History of the Parish

Parish History Book

The parish history book is now completed and printed. Please contact the rectory to purchase a copy. The books are full colour, are 8.5″ x 11″ in size, and are 215 pages in length. The price is $40.00 each.

Parish Timeline

1822: Flos and Vespra townships are surveyed.

1839-1841: St. Louis church in Medonte built.

1843: Fergusonvale first settled.

1847: First settlers at what would eventually become Elmvale.

1851: Town of Apto founded; population of Flos and Vespra about 400.

1855: Apto church, called St. Patrick’s, is built.

1861: Church at St. Louis seems to have been rebuilt.

1865: Parish of St. Patrick’s, sometimes referred to as Flos Parish, is founded. First resident priest is Fr. Gribbin (for three months), followed by Fr. Mullen.

1868: Town of Vigo is founded.

1869: Vigo church, St. Mary’s (also sometimes referred to as Our Lady of Purity) is built.

1870: Town of Phelpston is founded.

1875: Apto presbytery is built sometime between 1865 and 1875.

1877: Third church is built at St. Louis.

1879: Simcoe Railway arrives in the area, population increases.

1881: Wild fires destroy many homes across Flos township.

1891: Building of St. Patrick’s Church, Phelpston, commenced.

1892: Fr. Gearin leaves Apto presbytery and moves to Phelpston.

1899: Phelpston presbytery built.

1900: New altar built in St. Patrick’s, Phelpston.

1904: Sale of Apto presbytery and farmland. Church and graveyard reserved for the Episcopal Corporation. Church had only been used for funerals since building of St. Patrick’s in Phelpston.

1906-1908: St. Louis church is no longer part of St. Patrick’s parish. In 1906 the parish boundaries were changed, granting most of Medonte Township to the Waubaushene parish, but leaving St. Louis in St. Patrick’s parish. By 1908, Fr. Gearin agreed to grant St. Patrick’s remaining Medonte territory to the Waubaushene parish, which included St. Louis church.

1913: The first Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Elmvale (originally located where the Fire Station is today) was founded when a Methodist church in Elmvale was purchased by Fr. Gearin.

1914: Request made by Fr. Gearin to sell Vigo church, which has been closed since the opening of St. Patrick’s in Phelpston. Claims Mass has not been said in the Vigo church for over five years. Vigo church is eventually dismantled, with the lumber taken to St. Louis to build the rectory there. The Altar of Vigo was moved to St. Louis as well.

1919: Steam heating furnace installed in St. Patrick’s, Phelpston.

1924: Electricity wired to St. Patrick’s, Phelpston.

1926: Installation of the bell in St. Patrick’s bell tower.

1929: Death of Fr. Gearin; his grave monument laid the following year.

1952: St. Patrick’s Separate School started in Phelpston.

1963: Our Lady of Lourdes Separate School started in Elmvale.

1965: 100th Anniversary of Parish

1967: St. Alexander Mission, often referred to as the “Allenwood” church, is established after purchase of a United church.

1982: Construction of new Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Highway 27 begins; completed in about three months.  St. Alexander Mission “Allenwood Church” is closed.

1984: St. Alexander Church, or the “Allenwood” church, is demolished.

1990: 125th Anniversary of Parish.

1997: Fire ravages St. Patrick’s Church and damages the rectory. Church closed for repair.

2000: Reopening of St. Patrick’s Church.

2001: Closing of St. Patrick’s Separate School

2015: 150th Anniversary of Parish.

Timeline of Priests for St. Patrick’s Parish

Priests serving the Flos and Medonte area before 1865

From Penetanguishene:

Fr. Dempsey                                 1833-1835

Fr. John Baptiste Proulx                 1835-1837

Fr. Amable Charest                        1837-1840

From Newmarket:

Fr. James Quinlan                          1840-1845

From Penetanguishene:

Fr. Amable Charest                         1845-1854

From Newmarket:

Fr. John McNulty                             1854-1855

From Barrie:

Fr. John Francis Jamot                    1855-1863

Fr. John J. Gribbin                          1863-1865

Priests for St. Patrick’s Parish after 1865

1865-1875         Fr. Arthur Patrick Mullen

1875                  Fr. Philbert Rey

1875-1876         Fr. William Berrigan (Bergin)

1876-1878         Fr. John Joseph Gribbin

1878-1882         Fr. Andrew Philip Finan

1882-1885         Fr. John Bernard Skelly

1885-1929         Fr. Michael J. Gearin

1929-1930         Fr. Thomas Marchildon

1930-1938         Fr. Msgr. John Marie Alphonsus Castex

1938-1941         Fr. William Purcell Smith

1941-1942         Fr. Clement Joseph Dougherty

1942-1950         Fr. Henry B. Doyle

1950-1951         Fr. William Joseph Burdell Hipkin

1951-1959         Fr. William Raymond Morrison

1959-1964         Fr. Martin Eugene O’Grady

1964-1971         Fr. Bernard J. Belanger

1971-1972         Fr. J. Lawlor McKenna

1972-1975         Fr. Stanley E. Blackwell

1975-1976         Fr. Msgr. Vincent M. Foy

1976-1978         Fr. Neil A. Varley

1978-1984         Fr. John G. Hawkshaw

1984-1985         Fr. Charles Faleiro

1985-1993         Fr. Francis Turk

1993-2006         Fr. David Bollo

2006-2008         Fr. Stephen Szakaczki

2008-2011         Fr. Derek Ali

2011-2013         Fr. Peter Tammearu

2013-                Fr. James Bussanich

Note: Visiting priests were many since 1865, but of particular note are the visits of Fr. Frank W. Stone, who performed 12 marriages and 8 baptisms in St. Patrick’s Parish between 1942 and 1980.

Permanent Deacons of St. Patrick’s Parish

2007 – 2011      Deacon Tom Dea

2011 – 2015      Deacon Joe Duncan