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History of St. John the Apostle Parish
In the 1960's, Ottawa's population growth began spilling over into Nepean's north-east quadrant, placing increasing demands on the Our Lady of Fatima and St. Martin de Porres parishes. In supporting a re-definition of parish boundaries, Archbishop Lemieux established St. John the Apostle (SJA) Parish on October 8, 1966 and appointed Fr. John Whelan as founding pastor.
On October 16, 1966, the SJA Parish's first mass was celebrated in St. Raymond's School's gymnasium on Fellows Road. Sunday masses continued there while weekday masses were held in a small chapel in Fr. Whelan’s home on Southwood Drive. In September 1968, ground breaking took place on the former National Capital Commission property. In February 1968, construction began based on a design that SJA’s architect, Roger D’Astous, had previously created for the Paroisse de l’Enfant-Jésus in Tracy, Quebec.
On August 10, 1969, the first mass was celebrated in the new church on Baseline Road. On the Feast of St. John the Apostle (December 27, 1969), Archbishop Plourde and Fr. Whelan formally celebrated the blessing of the church and consecration of the altar.
In its history, the parish has organized countless activities and events with the help of so many parishioners, some of whom became priests and deacons. In September 1987, a parish newspaper, “Parish Life at St. John the Apostle” began publication to profile the many activities, and events taking place in our community, including those involving St. Brigid’s Summer Camp. On November 26, 1989, mass was celebrated by new Archbishop Gervais and televised on CBC’s Meeting Place. On May 7, 1992, the first meeting of parish volunteers took place for the Morrison Gardens Food Bank. On April 24, 2016, a 50th anniversary gala dinner was held with Bishop Reisbeck, Father Kerslake (Episcopal Vicar), Father Lindsay Harrison (current pastor), former pastors, and many parishioners, including founding members.
Changes to the church property have also been made over the years to enhance the worship space, meeting areas, rectory, and parking. For instance, on April 27, 1975, a light fixture above the tabernacle in the shape of three tongues of fire symbolizing the Trinity was donated. In 1980, offices were added. On October 6, 1988, a ceramic status of the Madonna and Child was installed in celebration of the Marian Year. In December 1991, the front entrance way to the church was enclosed to create a “glass house”. In 1999, the side entrance was extended. In 2007 and 2015, more accessible parking spaces were designated. In 2012, significant renovations took place to the church, including the Main Hall. On October 16, 2016, the 50th anniversary mass was celebrated by Archbishop Prendergast and a new baptismal font was blessed to welcome new Catholics to the faith community and remind us all of our baptismal call to evangelize as reflected in our mission statement: “The St. John the Apostle parish community, inspired by the Holy Spirit, strives to witness to the presence of Christ.”
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