The Islands: Churches: Sacred Heart Clergy

Clergymen of Sacred Heart Church
Wolfe Island

Scroll down for more information and photos on some of the priests.
Please note that after Msg Ryan I may be missing some priests.

Farrell 1852-1854
John Foley 1854-1861
Michael Stafford 1861-1868
M.J.Graham 1868-1869
Edward H. Murray 1869-1874
Thomas J. Spratt 1874-1915
Fleming 1915-1923
Peter McKiernan 1923-1935
R.A. Carey 1928-1935
J.F. Feeney 1935-1942
Joseph Shannon 1942-1948
Msg James S. Ryan 1948-1974
M.E. Farrell 1974-?
John Appelman ?-?
Eugene O’Reilly ?-2003
Rene LaBelle 2004 - Present

Farrell 1852-1854
Erected the first Roman Catholic church on the island.
This was the first church to have the name "Church of the Sacred Heart of the Virgin Mary".
Later became Bishop of Hamilton.

John Foley Nov. 1854- Oct. 1861
First pastor of the Mission.
Purchased a house and four acres adjoining the church where he lived until his death in 1861.

As an inducement to the people to join the Temperance Society he was accustomed to offer a sacrament once every month for the members of the Holy Sacrifice, a custom which still exists.

Tombstone in Sacred Heart Cemetery:
Here repose the remains of Reverend Father John FOLEY, first pastor of the Mission of Wolfe Island. His death occurred on October 1961. We hold his memory in benediction for he passed through our midst doing good for all. I have offered up in his tabernacle a sacrifice of affection that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
Tombstone #2 in Sacred Heart Cemetery:
The Reverends:
Thomas J. SPRATT, died June 3rd, 1915.
John J. FOLEY, died October 10th, 1861.

Michael Stafford 1861-1868
A few days after the death of Rev. Foley, Rev. Michael Stafford was appointed pastor by Rev. Edward John Horan, Bishop of Kingston.
He lived for two years in the house purchased by John Foley. However then the house was accidentally destroyed by fire.
For 2000$ bought another house.

It was through his influence that two Separate Schools were built and furnished, one of brick at Marysville and another of wood three miles to the south of the former.

In April 1868 was promoted to the mission of Lindsay.

M.J.Graham May 1868- Aug. 1869
Appointed to the mission in May of 1868 by Rev. Edward John Horan, Bishop of Kingston.

Edward H. Murray Sept. 1869- July 1874
Appointed pastor in September 1869 by rev. Edward John Horan, Bishop of Kingston.
Transferred 1874.

Because of the growing catholic population he opened a subscription for a larger and more beautiful church. By xmas of 1872 the new church was completed.
In this new church he established a devotion of the Forty Hours Adoration.

(click on photo for larger, clearer version.)
Thomas J. Spratt July 1874-1915
Succeeded Father Murray in July 1874.
Father Spratt built the present rectory in 1901.

During his pastorate the Catholic Mutual Benefit Association Hall (CMBA) was built. It served for church plays, dances and other social events.

Father Spratt returns from Bermuda article.

Father T J Spratt obituary

Tombstone in Sacred Heart Cemetery:
The Reverends:
Thomas J. SPRATT, died June 3rd, 1915.
John J. FOLEY, died October 10th, 1861.

Fleming Sept. 1915-1923
Father Fleming built the present church for 80,000$ in 1917. Began proceedings in September of 1915.
Transferred to Kemptville in 1923.

Peter McKiernan 1923-1935

(click on photo for larger, clearer version.)
R.A. Carey 1928-1935

Submitted by AM Benson
Transcribed by Dean Snider
Kingston Whig Standard
Dec 1, 1931 page 14
Rev. Father Carey-25 Years Priest
Ceremony Held at Wolfe Island on Monday—Archbishop Present

Rev. Father Carey, parish priest of Wolfe Island, observed on Monday the twenty-fifth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. In the presence of a very large congregation, Father Carey, who is extremely popular on Wolfe Island with all its residents, celebrated solemn high mass, assisted by Very Rev. Dean J.J. O'Rielly of Trenton as deacon, Rev J.J. Keelay of Marmora as sub-deacon and Rev. J.M. McDonald of Kemptville as master of ceremonies. The sermon, appropriate to the occasion, was preached by Very Rev. J.T.Manley of Smiths Falls. A very large number of clergy from all over the Diocese of Kingston was present.
To mark the occasion, a purse was presented to Father Carey by the clergy and a purse and address was also presented to him by the laity. The address was read by Reeve John Kingsley and was signed by him and John Briceland, Oliver Hawkins, Raymond Conley, Joseph Loughlin, Fred Staley, David Mahoney, Howard Murphy, J.P. O'Shea, John Murray and Samuel Taggart.
At noon a luncheon for the clergy was held in the parish hall at which Very Rev. Dean A.J. Hemley of Brockville presided as toastmaster. Speeches, eulogistic of the parish priest of Wolfe Island, were delivered by His Excellency Archbishop M.J. O’Brien. Very Rev. Monsignor Fitzgerald of Ottawa, Rev. Father Foley of Alexandria, Rev. Dr. W.T. Kingsley of Portsmouth, Rev. Father Meehan of Elgin. Father Carey replied briefly but feelingly to the words of the speakers.
Many letters, telegrams and messages of congratulation were received by. Father Carey on the occasion of his twenty-fifth anniversary. A great many residents of the Island of all faiths joined in extending their congratulations to the popular priest.
Father Carey was born at Railton, the son of the late Francis Carey. After his ordination to the priesthood, he served as curate at Gananoque and Prescott and later became pastor at Lanark, Elgin, and Wolfe Island

J.F. Feeney 1935-1942
Obit-Msgr J.Feeney Dies at 82(photo)

Joseph Shannon 1942-1948

(click on photo for larger, clearer version.)
Msg James S. Ryan 1948-1974
Born 1896 on the island, son of Philip Ryan and Elizabeth nee Leavis of Howe Island.

M.E. Farrell 1974-?

John Appelman ?-?

Eugene O’Reilly 1999-2003
Toronto Star, “Pages of the Past”
Monday, June 29, 1953
Reception Is Held When 16 Ordained
His Eminence, James C. Cardinal McGuigan, Archibishop of Toronto, ordained 16 seminarians of the Congregation of St. Basil to the priesthood this morning.
A reception was held for the families of the following: …Rev. Edward O’REILLY, Wolfe Island…

Edward Augustine O'Reilly
21 January 1924 - 04 May 1997
Fr. Edward O'Reilly died peacefully in his sleep in the late evening of 04 May 1997 at Providence Centre, Toronto, ON. Fr. O'Reilly, a member of the local community at the Basilian Fathers Residence, was transferred to Providence Centre during the past winter in order to receive the level of health care which he required. His brother, Fr. Eugene O'Reilly, anointed him the week prior to his death. A Wake Vigil was held in the Chapel of the Cardinal Flahiff Basilian Centre, Toronto, on 07 May 1997. Fr. Robert J. Whyte, Assistant Director of the Basilian Fathers Residence, presided at the service and Fr. Hugh M. Foley preached the homily. The following evening the Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated in the same chapel. The V. Rev. Robert J. Barringer, Superior General, presided and Fr. O'Reilly's brother, Eugene, preached the homily. Family members along with friends and Basilians from the area were in attendance for both ceremonies. Fr. Barringer said the final commendation.

Fr. O'Reilly was buried in the Basilian plot at Holy Cross Cemetery, Thornhill, ON on 09 May 1997. Fr. Eugene O'Reilly said the prayers at the graveside.

Confreres are reminded of the usual suffrages for the repose of his soul.

Annual Appointments
1944 - 1945 Toronto Novitiate Novice
1945 - 1948 Assumption College Undergraduate Studies
1948 - 1949 Catholic Central High School Teaching
1949 - 1950 St. Thomas High School Teaching, Theology
1950 - 1951 St. Michael's College School Teaching
1951 - 1954 St. Basil's College Studies, Theology
1954 - 1957 Aquinas Institute Teaching
1957 - 1958 St. Charles College Teaching, Treasurer
1958 - 1962 Aquinas Institute Teaching
1962 - 1965 Michael Power High School Teaching
1965 - 1967 Andrean High School Teaching
1967 - 1987 St. Mary's College Teaching
1987 - 1988 Sabbatical
1988 - 1990 St. Mary's Church Owen Sound
1990 - Basilian Fathers Residence

Fr. Ed O'Reilly was born on 21 January 1924 on Wolfe Island, ON to James and Helen (nee Finn) O'Reilly. Ed first met the Basilians at the Marylake Farm and in 1941 entered St. Michael's College School. During his final year of secondary schooling in 1944 he applied for and was admitted to the Basilian novitiate in Toronto. He made his first profession of vows on 15 August 1945. Also professed that year were Fathers George Edward Beaune, Thomas James Hanrahan, Kevin John Kirley, Joseph Anthony Miller, Ronold Stanly Pazik, Joseph Gerard Penny, William James Stoba, John Jerome Stortz, John Raymond Whitley and the late Donald Richard Mooney, Peter Edward Sheehan, Francis Christian Boehm and Daniel Gordon Macdonald. Following profession, Ed was appointed to Assumption College in Windsor, ON and majored in English, History and Philosophy; he received a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario in 1948 and, that Fall, began over thirty years of ministry in the high school apostolate.

Ed began Theological studies while teaching at St. Thomas High School, Houston, TX in 1949; the following year he was appointed to St. Basil's Seminary in Toronto to complete the studies. He was ordained to the priesthood on 29 June 1953 in St. Basil's Church, Toronto, by James Cardinal McGuigan. Also ordained that year were Fathers George Edward Beaune, David Esmond Belyea, Robert William Crooker, Joseph Gerard Penny, James Gareth Poupore, John Jerome Stortz and the late Leon George Hart, Gerald Frederick McGuigan, Michael Alphonsus Goetz, Peter Edward Sheehan, George Donal O'Gorman and David William Bauer.

After ordination Ed continued in the high school apostolate serving at the Aquinas Institute, Rochester, NY first for 3 years and then later for 4 years; St. Charles College, Sudbury, ON (1 year); Michael Power High School, Etobicoke, ON (3 years); Andrean High School, Merrillville, IN (2 years) and finally St. Mary's College, Sault Ste. Marie, ON (20 years). Following Fr. O'Reilly's death, the Principal of St. Basil Secondary School in Sault Ste. Marie, Mr. Bob Barbeau,, wrote to express his own condolences and those of former staff and students from St. Mary's. He wrote: "Colourful Father O'Reilly brings many fond and humorous memories to mind, when we think back to his classroom in portables, with the raccoons under the floorboards, and the students adjusting grades in his marksbook. Fr. Ed will be missed by friends and confreres in the Sault."

Ed earned an M.Ed from the University of Rochester in 1959 and took several summer courses in the Department of History at the University of Ottawa.

After a year's sabbatical in 1997-1988, Ed was appointed to St. Mary's Church, Owen Sound, ON for parish ministry. He remained at St. Mary's for two years when he was appointed to the Basilian Fathers Residence for health reasons.

Fr. O'Reilly is pre-deceased by his parents. He is survived by two brothers, Francis and Fr. Eugene, and two sisters, Mrs. Theresa Fargo and Mrs. Rose Coffey

Rev Eugene O'Reilly -sept 2003-FUNERAL CARD IMAGE

O'Reilly,Rev Eugene Thomas -Sept 9 2003-OBIT IMAGE
Date: Sept 2003
From: Kingston Whig
O'REILLY, Rev. Eugene Thomas,
C.S.B. Professed Basilian- August 15, 1949. He received a BA degree from Assumption College through the University of Western Ontario in 1952. He then began a Long teaching career as Aquinas Institute in Rochester N.Y., 1952-54. This was interrupted for priesthood studies at St. Basil's College in Toronto, ordained to priesthood in St. Basil's Church June 29, 1957. As a priest he returned to teaching: 1958-60 at St. Charles in Sudbury, 1960-62 at Assumption College School in Windsor, 1962-65 at St. Paul's High School in Saskatoon, 1965-77 at Michael Power High School in Toronto. He spent the academic year 1977-78 on sabbatical at Carleton University in Ottawa returning to the classroom in 1978-80 with the Basil ian Fathers of Rexdale and 1980-91 at St. Piux X High School in Ottawa. From 1991-99 he served as Chaplain at Queen's University in Kingston. After he served as pastor of Sacred Heart of Mary Church on Wolfe Island from 1999 until his death. Peaceful ly entered into God's presence on Tuesday, September 9, 2003 at the Kingston General Hospital. Beloved son of the late James Edward O'Reilly and his wife the former Helen "Nellie" Finn. Dear brother of Mrs. Rose Coffey, Francis O'Reilly, Mrs. Theresa Fargo and the late Father Edward O'Reilly, C.S.B. Dearly missed by his 28 nieces and nephews and their families. Friends will be received at Sacred Heart of Mary Church, Wolfe Island on Thursday, September 11 from 2 until 9 p.m. Vigil service will b e held at 8:00 p.m. Mass will be celebrated at the Church, Friday, September 12 at 10:00 a.m. Visitation will continue at the Cardinal Flahiff Centre, 95 St. Joseph's Street, Toronto, on Friday from 5 p.m. Vigil service will be held at 7:30 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, September 13, at 10:00 a.m. Rite of Committal with prayers in the Basilian Plot at Holy Cross Cemetery, Toronto. Memorial donations may be made to the Sacred Heart of Mary Church, Wolfe Island or t he Basilian Missions, in memory of Father Eugene. Relatives and friends are invited to sign the Book of Condolence at IN THE CARE OF THE GORDON F. TOMPKINS FUNERAL HOMES, TOWNSHIP CHAPEL WATERLOO VILLAGE 546-5150 gftompkins-to

The Basilian Newsletterbr> The Congregation of St. Basil, Volume 44 Number 10, 16 September 2003
Eugene Thomas O'Reilly, CSB
November 21, 1927 - September 9, 2003
Rev. Eugene Thomas O'Reilly, CSB died peacefully with members of his family present on September 9, 2003 at 7:30 p.m. at Kingston General Hospital. Msgr. Don Clement presided at a wake service at Sacred Heart of Mary, Wolfe Island on Thursday 11 September. The following morning in the same church, Archbishop Meagher presided at a memorial mass of the Resurrection, with many priests concelebrants. Archbishop-emeritus Spence delivered the homily. Many of Fr. O'Reilly's family, friends and parishioners attended both liturgies.
On Friday evening, September 12, at the Cardinal Flahiff Basilian Centre chapel in Toronto, Fr. Kevin Kirley, CSB presiding at a second wake service. Fr. Brian Higgins, CSB preached the homily. On Saturday morning, September 13, Fr. Ken Decker, CSB, the Superior General of the Basilian Fathers presided at the funeral Mass of the Resurrection. Fr. Kenneth O'Keefe, CSB remarked in his homily on the large number of family members, friends, confreres and concelebrants who filled the chapel. Father O'Reilly was laid to rest in the Basilian Plot at Holy Cross Cemetery in Thornhill Ontario. Father Hugh Foley led the grave side service.
Father O'Reilly, was born and raised on Wolfe Island the son of James Edward O'Reilly and Helen Monica Finn. Gene maintained a life long love for the island, the place of his family, his youth, and many enduring friendships. Following his profession in the Basilian Fathers studies, and ordination he gave himself to a long ministry in teaching in Windsor, Rochester, New York, Sudbury, Ottawa and Toronto. Gene was a gracious and gifted teacher, presenting his love for the Catholic faith and English literature with a fervent yet unassuming style. Both students and staff were drawn to his warm and gentle acceptance, wherever he went. Co-Teachers who attended the funeral mass commented on his welcoming presence in the classroom, the staff room and through the school. Gene generously ministered to many Religious Sisters congregations in cities where he was stationed. Through his life's strugglers and challenges, he honed his natural gift of a pleasant disposition into a blessed virtue of genuine friendliness. Those who loved him joked that this warm virtue flowed from him as though wafted on the air like the rich perfumed aroma of a very good panatella cigar. A Basilian confrere, remarked that when he was with Gene, he felt as if he were welcomed, received and was about to hear a really good story. Later he came to understand that it was Gene himself who was the story, the Good News, a joyful, hope filled Christian. His spirituality was never hidden or obscured, but always the core of whatever he did, at school, in the parish, at Basilian or family gatherings. He was a reflective, prayerful man, of a natural true and solid piety.
In 1999 Fr. Gene received a most welcome call to return to his beloved Wolfe Island as pastor of Sacred Heart of Mary Parish when he was most needed. He brought home his committed priesthood, his love, his intelligence, his wit and humour. His spirit of ecumenism founded in his profound sense of family, of friendship and of community marked his relationships with openness and integrity. All those who knew him will miss his gentle touch, his gracious, welcoming spirit of acceptance, his devoted ministry, his deep sense of church and sacrament.
Father Eugene O'Reilly was professed in the Basilian Fathers 15 August 1949 at Richmond Hill Novitiate. Other professed that year were Fathers Gareth Poupore, Rocco Volpe, Robert Crooker, David Heath, and the Late Michael Goetz, Frank McCabe, Paul Meloche, William O'Brien, Norm Iverson, John Ware, James Daley and Robert Hall.
He was ordained to the priesthood on 29 June 1957 by Cardinal James McGuigan at St. Basil's Church, Toronto. Others ordained with him were Richard Elmer, John Fiore, Rocco Volpe, Owen Lee, John Murray, Maurice Pierce and the late Robert Hall, Art Holmes, William Marceau, Robert Matzinger, Paul Sheehan.
Father O' Reilly was predeceased by his parents and his brother Rev. Edward O' Reilly, CSB and is survived by his brother Francis and his sisters Rose Coffey and Theresa Fargo, as well as many nephews and nieces.
1948-1949 Novitiate at Richmond Hill Ontario
1949-1952 Assumption College in Windsor, Ontario
1952-1954 The Aquinas Institute in Rochester, New York
1954-1958 St. Basil's Seminary in Toronto
1958-1960 St. Charles College School in Sudbury
1960-1962 Assumption College School in Windsor, Ontario
1962-1965 St. Paul's High School in Ottawa
1965-1977 Michael Power High School in Toronto
1977-1978 Sabbatical (Carlton University)
1978-1980 Basilian Fathers of Rexdale
1980-1991 St. Basil's Church and St. Pius X High School (Ottawa)
1991-1999 Chaplain at Queens University in Kingston
1999-2003 Sacred Heart of Mary Parish on Wolfe Island
Confreres are reminded to offer the usual suffrages for the repose of his soul.
May he rest in peace.
(Contributors: Margaret Knott, Hugh Foley, John Ware, Ken O'Keefe, Brian Higgins.)


-Wolfe Island Past & Present,Cosgrove, W.M., 1973: Religion Chapter
-Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Cemetery Transcriptions by Fern Small
and Ken Collins 1976
-Built on a Rock by Louis J. Flynn

The Islands: Churches: Sacred Heart Clergy

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