History of St.Stephen’s Parish

The Parish was set up in 1874. Its boundaries covered the area which embraced the entire Port au Port Peninsula to Mattis Point. Early records indicate that Msgr. Thomas Sears looked after the area and later a Father Joseph Veronneau came around 1876. He was later followed by Father McInnis. Father M. O'Rourke served the parish for roughly twenty years until 1899. As time went on new parishes were built. The first was the Parish of Port au Port. In 1937 the Parish of Stephenville Crossing was created.

Stephen Gallant was the first of the Acadian immigrants to be born in Stephenville and was brought to Margaree, Nova Scotia to be baptized. The first record of a baptism for St. Stephen's Parish belongs to a Samuel Hynes, son of W. Hynes and Caroline Marche baptized on October 2, 1874. It was Father P. W. Brown who succeeded Dean M.O'Rourke who built the first school at Mattis Point around the turn of the century. His successor was Msgr. P. F. Adams who came to Newfoundland from the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec and served as parish priest from 1906 until 1937. It was during his time that the church which was built around 1909 was destroyed by fire on October 19, 1969.

Msgr. Adams was instrumental in getting the Presentation Sisters to come to Stephenville to administer the schools. The sisters arrived on November 21, 1925 and lived at St. Theresa's Convent. Sister Agnes O'Keefe was the first superior. After the death of Msgr. Adams, Father Leo Drake was administrator for one year. Father, later Msgr. Walter Brennan was named parish priest in 1938 and remained at Stephenville until 1951.

Father, later Msgr. Patrick Bromley was Parish Priest from 1951 until his retirement in 1976. It was during the tenure of Msgr. Patrick Bromley that St. Stephen's celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding. Following him in 1976 was Msgr. Gerald Hull who was Pastor until his death in January 1984. Father Bernard Buckle was the Parish Priest from 1984 to 1994. Father Edwin Gale was the Parish Priest from 1994 to 2000. Father Maurice O'Quinn was Parish Priest from 2000 until 2013. Msgr. Jim Robertson was Pastor from 2013 until 2017. Father Poulose Kannampilly served as Associate Pastor from 2014 until 2016. On June 1, 2016, Father Chris Mekala (Krishnarao) became Associate Pastor until June 27, 2017. On June 28, 2017, Father Chris was assigned Administrator of the Parish. Father Vitus Echedo was appointed Associate on June 28, 2017.

After the fire of October 19, 1969, a committee was set up to plan the building of the present church. On May 29, 1971, the first Mass in the new church was celebrated and on 4 June, 1971 it was officially blessed by Bishop Richard T. McGrath.

Today the Parish has approximately 6,000 parishioners.

Greetings to all.
Hope you are well and safe during this unusual time.

1. We now have 2 masses on the weekends, Saturdays at 6:00 and Sundays at 10:30. We are only allowed to have a maximum of 100 people to abide by the public health measure rules. Parishioners no longer need to call and make an appointment for mass. You may however, view daily Masses via live streaming on Facebook using ID “ Mekala Kris” or “Stephen Parish” at 10:30 AM.

2. If anyone is in need of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick please call the parish office.

3. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available by appointment only. Those wishing to receive the sacrament can call the parish office to book an appointment. Appointments will follow the social distancing guidelines.

4. If you have a Mass or Prayer requests you will need to provide the following information: Name of the person for whom the Mass will be offered. Identify if the mass is to be offered in honor of or in memory of your loved one. The date you wish to offer the mass and the name of the person offering the mass. This information can be emailed to: fatherchrisstsp79@gmail.com or you can drop the details off in an envelope to the parish. If you can’t send your Mass stipend right away don’t worry you can send it later by cheque in the name of St. Stephen’s Parish or by dropping it in mailbox.

5. I have received a number of inquiries from parishioners wishing to make their weekly contribution to support the parish financially. You can drop your envelopes off to the parish mailbox or you can send your donation by e-transfer to stephensparish@gmail.com. Don’t forget to write your envelope number in the comment section.

6. If you want to pick up your income tax receipts please call to the parish and we will assist you with your request.

7. If you wish to schedule an appointment with the priest please call 643-2523.

Thank you for your generous support and understanding.

God bless
Father Kris