St. Jean Baptiste, Amherstburg Ontario
St. Jean Baptiste, Amherstburg, Ontario
St. Jean Baptiste, Amherstburg, Ontario

...Amherstburg was in its infancy when the first Catholic chapel was built on Bathurst Street. On May 1, 1800 Bishop Pierre Denaut wrote to Father Jean Baptiste Marchand (a Sulpician priest, pastor of Assumption parish at Sandwich) instructing him to "give as patron saint the name of St. John the Baptist." By 1802 permanent records were being kept separately for the Amherstburg chapel. wasn't until June 24, 1844 that the cornerstone was blessed and the Gothic edifice began to take form.

...The War of 1812-15 hostilities caused great consternation, as did the Rebellion of 1837-38.

...The boundaries of the parish were extensive, requiring the priests to travel many exhausting miles

...Jean Baptiste Marchand, pastor of Assumption, was in charge of the Amherstburg and River Thames missions. Between 1801 and 1825 he was assisted first by Fr. Felix Gatien and later by Fr. Joseph Crevier.

...For about four months in 1843 the parish was administered by the Jesuits. Father Louis Boue arrived in Amherstburg in January, 1844 and immediately began the task of building the new church.

...Folks throughout the district, Catholic and Protestant, donated and pledged to the building fund.

...Ancestors of many of today's parishioners performed the manual labour.

...In 1844 Amherstburg had almost 900 inhabitants and the bordering townships were quickly being settled.

...In the autumn of 1845 upon returning from a trip into the country, Father Boue met with an accident and died a few days later from his injuries.

...Following Boue's death the Jesuits again took charge of St. John the Baptist Parish from 1845 until 1850 when Jean Daudet was appointed as pastor. He was succeeded by Pierre Dominic Laurent, Augustin Wassereau and James Ryan until the Basilians assumed responsibility for the parish in 1878.

...Work on the church continued after Fr. Boue's death but many years passed before it was completed. The bell tower was built in the late 1860s under the direction of Father Pierre Dominic Laurent.

...In 1878 the first Basilian priests, Frs. Jean Pierre Grand and Patrick Joseph Ryan, arrived in Amherstburg to take charge of St. John the Baptist Parish.

...Father Grand in the meantime was responsible for establishing St. Clement's Church in McGregor, the first chapel being built there in 1880.

...In 1978 the Town of Amherstburg, through its Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee, passed a bylaw which designated St. John the Baptist Church on Brock Street and its adjacent properties as "being of historical and architectural value to the heritage of the town of Amherstburg." There are presently 2276 families registered in the parish.

Quoted from the St. Jean Baptiste Parish Website