My 4x great uncle John Lahey the Elder bequeathed the bulk of his property (“one hundred acres of land more or less”) to his younger brother James, my 3x great-grandfather, but set aside two acres of land for the use of the RC Church. From a History of St. Isidore Church, March township, Kanata:
In 1848 the parish of March had another episcopal visit, this time from Bishop Joseph Eugene Guiges, who received an undertaking from John Lahey, donating ‘two acres of land for the upkeep of the church and of the Catholic priest who will be named by his excellency and his successors to serve this mission or parish of March. These two acres are situated on lot 14 and touch on one side the main road to Bytown and on the three others the property of the donor.’
In his last will and testament, dated 21 December 1853, John Lahey the Elder made good on his undertaking, “reserving to the Roman Catholic Church the two acres of land of said lot upon which the the chapel now stands.”
It was on this two acres of land that stood, until very recently, the Church of St. Isidore, which was built in the mid-1880s (and built in part by John Lahey the Elder’s nephew John, husband of Margaret Jane Killeen, and my 2x great-grandfather), with the cornerstone laid in 1887.
The stone church was demolished last August, to make way for something bigger and better and brighter, with a state-of-the-art media system, and with all mod cons. And who am I to question the inexorable march of progress?
Doesn’t quite sit well with me, though, and I predict that the new building will look less like a house of worship than like a Holiday Inn Convention Centre (I’m no conservative: I’m not asking for a Latin Mass; but dear God, please deliver us from that post-Vatican II architectural abomination known as “the Church in the Round”!). I also predict that the costs of the new building will vastly exceed even the most inflated estimates of restoring the old church, which figures were presented to parishioners as proof that historic preservation was crazy expensive and clearly unaffordable.
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