Moncton’s Catholic Roots

An illustrated history of St. Bernard’s Church by Leo J. Hynes

s Cliff and I waited by the car for the rest of the family to emerge from the house to go to the Kirk, we heard the faint ringing of the bell from St. Peter’s Church in Upham. As the sound drifted down the valley, it seemed to be summoning the parishioners to worship, as it had since 1899.

In April of 1900, the bell for St. Bernard’s Church in Moncton, was blessed  before it was put in the belfry for its first ringing on Easter Sunday. Its purchase price was $1,305 and the special collection at its blessing amounted to $1,116.50. The cost of the carpenters for its hanging was $42.00.

When the worshipers arrived at the church for the blessing or the ‘baptism’ of the bell, they found it had been placed before the altar rail and adorned with flowers, the Union Jack, the Harp and Shamrock, and the flag of Acadia.

Father Meahan first washed the bell with water previously blessed. Psalms of praise were then recited, followed by the pastor marking the “Sign of the Cross” on the bell with holy oil, seven on the outside and four on the inside. Toward the conclusion of the rite, incense was place into a thurible, which was placed under the bell so that its fragrant smoke would ascend into it, and, spread into the entire church.

Following the “Rite of Blessing”, father Meahan requested Moncton’s Mayor Sumner deliver the first stroke. After which hundreds of those present stepped forward in turn and enjoyed a like privilege.

The corner stone for this church was laid in 1888, at which time an offering in upwards of $400.00 had been placed on it by the people, irrespective of creed.  The trowel with which the Bishop laid the corner stone was offered for auction and the highest bidder was Conductor Watts for the sum of $19.00.  Within the walls of the uncompleted building, a coffee party was held in October, and the $1,170 raised helped with the construction price of $40,000.

An opening Mass was held on the morning of 1 November 1891. In the afternoon, a baptismal service took place for Wiliam Walsh, born 27th day of September 1891, of the lawful marriage of Thoms Walsh and Mary Stewart with sponsors Charles Keenean and Mrs. D. O’Neill.

Father Leo J. Hynes, the son of James Hynes and Ellen Breau was baptized in St. Bernard’s Church, where his parents had been married. His  grandparents, Andrew and Ellen (Casey) Breau were the godparents. In 1973, he became the pastor of this church. His close association with St. Bernard’s prompted his writing its colourful history to commemorate the centennial year of its becoming a parish in 1882 and to reveal something of Moncton’s rich Catholic heritage.

In his 240 page book, ‘Moncton’s Catholic Roots’ - An illustrated history of St. Bernard’s Church, Father Leo J. Hynes traces the arrival of the German peasants in June of 1776 from Pennslyvania and their possible discovery of the ruins of the log chapel and the charred homes built by the Acadians to the year of 1982, when the Mother Church of Moncton’s Roman Catholics celebrated its Centenary.

This is a book filled with facts on not only the clergy and the changes that have taken place in Moncton’s Catholic Roots but the people involved and in so doing Father Hynes left a legacy for the family researcher.

Moncton’s Catholic Roots - An illustrated history of St. Bernard’s Church” by Leo J. Hynes is available for viewing at several research institutions.


Query 1235
Richardson: George Richardson born 1840, married Dorcus (last name unknown) and they had seven children, Gertrude, John Jr., Nellie, Frederick B., James A., Harry C., and Nubert N. It is possible they were on Deer Island. Any information on this family would be appreciated.
#3-3960 Fraser St.
Vancouver, British Columbia
V5V 4E4

Query 1236
McHugh - Hurley: Seeking descendants of Joseph and Bridget McHugh, listed in the 1881 census of Saint John with 6 children, Mary Jane, Rosann, Ellen Elizabeth, John, Joseph and Bridget Teresa.  Particularly seeking details of Joseph.  Also from the1881 census, information wanted on Thomas and Mary Hurley with 10 children, Mary A., David, Kate, Sarah, Ada, Alice, Agnes, Thomas, Florence and Ella M.
1326 Rte 845
Clifton Royal, NB.
Canada, E5S 2B9

Query 1237
Jordan - Mills: Does anyone have any information on Baby Elizabeth Mabel Jordan buried in St. George's Anglican Church Cemetery circa 1875-1881.  She was the daughter of James Byron Jordan and Mary Amelia Mills. 
5441 Hwy 75
South Cleveland,  GA 
30528, USA

Query 1238
Chambers - Featherham: I am looking for any information on George Chambers who had an original land grant in Bay Du Vin, Northumberland County. Also Joseph Chambers, born circa 1786 in England, entered New Brunswick circa 1818. His wife according to 1851 census is Jane Featherham and they are living in Glenelg Parish. Their son, Angus Chambers, born about 1838, is in Bay Du Vin. Any information of any of these people would be very helpful.
72 E. State St, Apt 3
Montpelier VT
05602, USA
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