Pastor / Admin
Rev. Hugh Gibson
Rev. Chad Grennan, Rev. Maria Mariarajaratnam, Deacon Frank Pavone, Deacon Fabio Bustamante, Mrs. Connie Consonni
As far back as 1876, our neighbourhood had a Church. Dean Patrick Mulligan built a Chapel, dedicated to St. Joseph, at the corner of the present Niagara and Garnet Streets, to serve the large number of Catholics who came to this district, to help construct the Third Welland Canal. After the completion of the Canal, the building was used as a district school and parishioners were served by what was then known as St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish, which now serves as the Cathedral Church for the present Diocese of St. Catharines. After many years, in 1914, the building was used once again as a Church as the Polish Catholics established a National Parish to serve the many families living in the area under the auspices of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. In 1951, a new basement Church was completed on Garnet Street to serve the Polish-speaking Catholics of the district.
At about the same time, the English-speaking Catholics of the area wanted to attend Mass here, because the streetcar service to the Church of St. Catherine did not meet their needs, due to the infrequency of the service. People did not rely on the automobile as they do today. Consequently, Mrs. A. Pettifer and Mrs. A. Violante circulated a petition among about 40 families for permission to begin a local organization of English-speaking Catholics, called “Our Lady of Perpetual Help Society”. Under the care and guidance of Father Golecki, the Pastor of the Polish Parish, dinners, dances and socials were held in order to raise funds to build a new church for the English-speaking Catholics in the area.
In 1951, Cardinal McGuigan appointed Father Clement Schwalm to establish the new parish of St. Alfred. Church services and Parish activities were held in the hall attached to the Polish Church. These were days of joy, enthusiasm and ingenuity; socials on Saturday night, were followed by the clean up and arrangement of the altar and chairs for Sunday Mass. After Mass, preparations were made for a Sunday evening of movies and other activities. Many still remember the pail to catch the rain as it dripped from the ceiling and the skunks that dwelled under the floor, despite the cans and bottles thrown at them. The Sunday atmosphere in the Chapel was not always that of incense! When the Polish Parish moved to their new Church on Garnet St., St. Alfred Parish formally took over the old Chapel for Divine Services until a new building could be built.
More space was needed, and so in 1952 land was purchased from the Presto family at the corner of Vine and Carlton Streets. A concrete basement, that was built to serve as a hall, was used as temporary quarters for the new St. Alfred School, which opened in September of 1952. Cardinal McGuigan blessed a prefabricated Church, erected on the foundation by the parishioners, on November 30, 1952.
In September of 195