First Roman Catholic Priests in Ile-a-la-Crosse.

Religious History Of St. John Baptiste
Parish Ile-a-la-Crosse - 150 Years

The Church - The People Of God.

Three Crosses. Three Crosses.
The First Church of 1846-47
and the existing church of 1996.

In 1847, a combined residence-chapel was built. The Catholic population grew rapidly; in 1852, a first chapel church was built, 60 feet by 30 feet and was completed in 1854. A larger one replaced it in 1860 and was then renovated in 1876. A beautiful church was built in 1897, completed and blessed, March 19, 1901; in March 1918 and again in 1947, there were new pews; in 1936, the building got a new roof and a brick siding; in 1948, a basement was dug beneath the church and a furnace was installed. In 1949, pictures of the Way of the Cross were donated by benefactors from Windsor, Ontario.

In 1965, the once beautiful church building of 1897, showed signs of great deterioration and need of replacement after 68 years well counted. It was demolished on April 20. Sunday mass was celebrated in Taché Hall. A spacious new church was built by Brother Joseph-Edward Boucher, OMI. The exterior of the new church was completed October 21, 1965; midnight mass was celebrated in the new church; the blessing of the church was on June 19, 1966. The Stations of the Cross (formerly from the Sisters' chapel), were put in place for Good Friday in 1967. It was Brother Boucher's master-piece which still stands today.

It was covered with a new roof in 1995. It has an octagon shape, with a seating capacity of 600, the largest building in town and the tallest with its bell tower steeple (with two bells). It stands as a landmark and a beacon of faith for its community. The main entrance faces the lake on the east side.

June, 1959, a statue of St. John the Baptist was placed outside. Since March 7, 1965, the adaptations recommended by the Vatican Council were implemented, therefore, the altar was turned around so that the priest faces the congregation.

March, 1970, the communion rail was removed; loud speakers were installed. Baptismal fonts were purchased by the Holy Family Club and blessed, April 22, 1973.

Several Rectories used as Oblate Residences. The very first simple residence was built in 1847, In November, 1907, it was replaced by another. A third rectory was built in 1943, and still stands as the big red brick building. The basement was completely renovated in 1970. This former rectory has been serving as a residence since 1992 to Sisters as pastoral assistants and coordinators.

February, 1971, The pastor set up a parish office in a house more central in terms of parish work; it was rebuilt in 1972. This, in fact, served as a parish centre for several years.

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"Date Modified: December 8, 2023."

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