Montreal Gazette

20 July 1829

New Catholic Church

In our last we presented our readers with a short and hurried detail of the ceremony of the opening of the new Catholic Parish Church of this city—our time then prevented us from entering more at length, but a correspondent has since furnished us with the following details.

The new Roman Catholic Cathedral of this city was dedicated to the service of the Almighty on Wednesday last, by a solemn High Mass, performed pontifically and with al the ceremonies of the Catholic ritual, by the Bishop of Telmesse.  It was naturally to be supposed that such a circumstance would excite some interest, and such a supposition received a convincing proof of its correctness in the immense auditory which assembled to witness the ceremony.  Both the body and galleries of this magnificent Cathedral were filled with thousands, who have expressed their delight at all that could please the eye, or be considered as interesting or imposing, whether their attention was directed to the beauties of nature, who were every where to be seen, scattered like flowers in a waving forest, or at the beauties of art, which this temple dedicated to Divine service, amply displayed.

When it is considered that a very great assemblage of persons of different nations and of different religious persuasion was there collected together, animated in a great degree with the wish to see the performance of the solemn service, confusion and disorder might naturally have been expected, but the contrary was experienced.  The Churchwardens had taken every precaution to prevent such occurrences, and too much praise cannot be awarded to them for the very judicious and excellent manner, in which their previous arrangements were made and preserved throughout.  The police were no doubt very useful in so doing, nor should the Volunteers who acted as guards, and whose brilliant uniform added to the effect of the whole scene, be forgotten while dealing forth commendations.

His Excellency and staff were received with due respect, at the principal entrance, by the Churchwardens, and conducted through the two Volunteer Corps to a throne, prepared in front of the altar, and at the extremity of the centre aisle.  On the seats, which were placed on the right and left of His Excellency, were the Hon Mr Richardson, and Chief Justice Reid—behind were His Excellency’s staff (composed of Lieut Colonel Yorke, Lieut Colonel Heriot, and Capt Hamilton), and several officers of the Garrison.  In the pews to the right and left of His Excellency were the Judges of the King’s bench, members of the Legislative Council, the Speaker of the Assembly, Officers attached to the Garrison and public offices, the Bar in robes, and several public individuals, and strangers.

The service as already stated was performed by the Bishop of Telmesse, Mr Rocque of the Seminary officiating as Archdeacon, Mr Cadieux of Three Rivers as Deacon, and Mr Mignault of Chambly as Sub-deacon.  About sixty of the clergy of the neighbourhood were also present.  The singers were chosen from the body of the Clergy.  Mr Roux of the Seminary, whose infirmities are such to render necessary the assistance of two individuals to support him, sat on the right of the Bishop.  The orchestra was composed of amateurs, clerical and laical, vocal and instrumental.  The Organ from the old church by Holland of London, though much too small for the new Cathedral, seemed to be capable of filling the vast compass of the edifice.

Mr Quiblier preached the Sermon, in which he did not omit to enumerate all the honours and glory of the new Temple, and to pay flattering compliments on all, who had contributed to the erection of the Church or, who had attended at its dedication.  Sir Francis Burton as having been present when the first stone was laid: Sir James Kempt, as witnessing its completion; the Bishop of Telmesse, as performing the solemn service of consecration, Mr Roux and the Seminary, as the proposers of the edifice; the Churchwardens, as the agents who put the design into execution; Mr O’Donnell, as the architect; the gentlemen of the Bar, the Miliatry, the Clergy, and the crowd, as all aiding at the ceremony, came in for a share of the praises of the Reverend preacher, and the whole was wound up with a declaration of the honors, which the citizens of Montreal would obtain from this monument of their generosity.

The offering on this occasion was made by the Hon Judge Foucher and the Baroness of Longeuil—The Bar presented the holy bread, four of that body advancing with it to the altar to receive the benediction.  Several ladies and gentlemen officiated as collectors (among whom was the Hon Judge Foucher), and obtained £212, of which £180 is understood to have been procured in the body of the Church.

After the High Mass was completed, a solemn Te Deum was sung, during which a salute was fired from St Helen’s Battery, answered by the steam-boats and vessels in port.

The pews in the New Catholic Church were sold on Thursday last, and the sale has continued during several days.  Those in the body of the Church are sold for five years, in the first gallery for four, and in the second gallery for three.  The price obtained on Thursday for those in the body of the Church was from £4 to £10, according to their position.