A BRIEF HISTORY OF ST. DANIEL THE MARTYR

in 1844, the first resident pastor to be stationed in Kemptville, Reverend Farrelly, began to visit South Mountain about twice a month to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  In 1849, under the direction of Reverend Farrelly, the very first church in South Mountain was erected.  This small, wood-frame structure was not formally blessed until July 22, 1856.  In 1894, it became necessary to build a new church, as the old one was too small for the growing congregation and had deteriorated.  The old church was moved from the foundation and the cornerstone for a newer, larger, brick  building was layed and blessed on July 9. 1894.

 

In the period between 1844 and 1906, priests attended to the spiritual needs of the mission parish of South Mountain by travelling from Kemptville on a blazed trail, first on horesback and later by horse and buggy.  Parishioners would host the priest overnight.

 

On August 9, 1906, the parishes of St. Daniel in South Mountain and St. Anne at Dixon's Corners were joined together with a resident priest.  In 1920 the lot adjacent to the church was purchased and the rectory, and sacristy connecting it to the church was constructed. 

 

In 1956, under the direction of Reverend Francil J.O'Neill, a new hall was constructed in the basement of the church (dug out with pickaxe and shovel by the men of the parish).

 

A redecoration of the church, with a remodelled Santuary in keeping with the renewal in the liturgy resulting from Vatican II was completed in 1966.

 

On September 1, 1971, St. Anne's church in Dixon's Corners was closed and that parish was merged with the one spanning Iroquois and Morrisburg.  St. Daniel the Martyr was left without a resident priest and became, once again, a mission of Kemptville.

 

In 1994 a series of exciting centennial events spanned several months.  Hightlights included a thrilling performance in the packed church by the 50 member Osgoode Township Male Choir, gifts of a commemorative altar banner handmade by the C.W.L., and the installation of a new metal sign for the front of the church.  The culminating major centennial event was a special Mass of Thanksgiving held on September 18th, 1994.

 

In 2005, St. Daniel the Martyr became a mission of Chesterville.  In the next few years, the parish saw the installation of a new cross and a columbarium in the cemetery.

 

During the winter and spring of 2011 a major renovation of the mouldy basement began to allow, once again, access to the basement parish hall for the community-building events for which the parish was famous.  The Sacristy was redesigned and repaired and new storage cupboards and closets were installed. 

 

On Thursday, September 1st, 2011, fire broke out in St. Daniel the Martyr Church.  Despite the efforts of multiple fire departments, nothing could be done to save the building and it was reduced to rubble.  Three days after the fire, the parishioners (accompanied by former parishioners, members of other faith groups and surrounding community) assembed in the cemetery for an open-air Mass presided by the Archbishiop.

 

"Rising from the Ashes", the journey for the rebuilding of the church began with the support and participation of all parishioners and the establishment of "The Way Forward Committee."  Parishioners of St. Daniel's continued to celebrate mass every Sunday in the Agricultural Hall in South Mountain. 

 

On March 10, 2013, the entire community was invited to a breaking/ground blessing ceremony and on October 13, 2013, the culmination of twenty-five months of waiting took place on Thanksgiving weekend, when His Grace, Archbishop Brendan M. O'Brien, presided at a memorable Rite of Dedication of the new church and altar.

 

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