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Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (St. John's, N.L.)

  • Corporate body
  • 1793-1998

On 5 June 1784, Newfoundland was made an independent ecclesiastical territory/mission with its establishment as a Prefecture Apostolic. The arrival of Rev. James Louis O'Donel, the newly appointed prefect of Newfoundland, in St. John's in that same year is generally recognized as the date of the founding of the parish currently known as Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. However, the name of this original St. John's-based parish is uncertain. Records comprising the fonds only make reference to the "Old Chapel" (on Henry Street) that acted as the first parish church and later cathedral when the Diocese of Newfoundland was erected on 4 June 1847. It also is unclear whether this original entity actually was established as an official parish in 1784 or as some other less formal unit (references exist to the District of St. John's). Certainly, by 1847, with the erection of Newfoundland as a Diocese, a formal parish existed in St. John's.

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, constructed between 1841 and 1855 (consecrated on 9 September 1855), replaced the "Old Chapel," and in 1955 was raised to the rank of Minor Basilica, giving rise to the parish's current name, Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Parish (more popularly known as the Cathedral Parish and, later, the Basilica Parish).

The original parish boundaries stretched from La Manche to Holyrood and over time have undergone several changes. The most recent occurred in 1998 when St. Joseph's, located in the East End of St. John's, was suppressed and its congregation absorbed by the Basilica Parish. Currently, the parish boundaries include Pleasantville, Quidi Vidi, and the downtown core.

The Basilica Parish was active in the establishment and administration of schools within its boundaries, including Our Lady of Mercy, Presentation, St. Patrick's Hall, St. Bonaventure's, Holy Heart of Mary, and Brother Rice schools. The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Congregation (the Presentation Sisters), the Sisters of Mercy, and the Irish Christian Brothers also were closely affiliated with parish and educational affairs, supervising many of these parochial schools and participating in the general operations of the parish.

The Basilica Parish has also maintained close relations with numerous societies and organizations active within its geographical boundaries. Such past and present bodies include the Purgatorial Society, the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary, the Catholic Cadet Corps (CCC), the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Third Order of St. Francis, the Total Abstinence and Benefit Society, the Propagation of the Faith Society, the Blessed Virgin Mary Society, the Legion of Mary, the Catholic Women's League (CWL), and the Knights of Columbus (KOC). Thus, the operations of the parish are intimately intertwined with several allied lay societies and organizations (the above enumeration is not exhaustive).

Structurally, the parish is currently organized along lines similar to most Roman Catholic parishes, including a Parish Pastoral Council, a Finance Committee, and a Liturgy Committee. These bodies are comprised of clergy and members of the laity, established to administer pastoral concerns and affairs. Other bodies found in the parish include the Service Committee, the Restoration Committee, the Family Care Centre and the Hospitality Committee.

The oldest parish in Newfoundland, the Basilica Parish forms part of the Archdiocese of St. John's and is the seat of the Archbishop. Thus, the parish is somewhat unique in that parish and archdiocesan affairs often converge. While the Basilica Parish is administered by an appointed priest entrusted with the pastoral care of the community, the Archbishop, officially, is the chief pastor with his cathedra (or throne) located in the Basilica-Cathedral.

The following is a list of the prelates who have presided over the Basilica Parish: James L. O'Donel, prefect and later vicar Apostolic of Newfoundland (1784-1807); Patrick Lambert, vicar Apostolic of Newfoundland (1807-1816); Thomas Scallan, vicar Apostolic of Newfoundland (1816-1830); Michael A. Fleming, vicar Apostolic and later Bishop of Newfoundland (1830-1850); John T. Mullock, Bishop of Newfoundland and later St. John's (1850-1869); Thomas J. Power, Bishop of St. John's (1870-1893); Michael F. Howley, Bishop and later Archbishop of St. John's (1895-1914); Edward P. Roche, Archbishop of St. John's (1915-1950); Patrick J. Skinner, Archbishop of St. John's (1951-1979); Alphonsus L. Penney, Archbishop of St. John's (1979-1991); James H. MacDonald, Archbishop of St. John's (1991-2000); and Brendan O'Brien, Archbishop of St. John's (2000- ).

Batson, E.

  • Corporate body
  • 1934-1961

Elijah Batson owned and operated a general store at Trinity, Newfoundland, from 1934 to 1961. Before 1934, he was a clerk or junior bookkeeper at Ryan Brothers Ltd., Trinity. Initially, his business was located at the old Lockyer premises near the Green Forge, but he had relocated to the Commercial Stores property opposite the Royal Bank by 1938. By 1956, Batson had again moved the operation to the Erickson premises.

E. Batson sold groceries, hardware, and dry goods, which was typical of general stores in that era. The firm was atypical because it did not deal in codfish, only accepting cash or credit as a medium of exchange. In the twentieth century, many smaller outport firms like E. Batson began relying on the increasing pool of potential customers who carried cash and were not bound by credit and debt to the large fish merchants such as Ryan Brothers, Limited. The business closed when Elijah Batson died in 1961.

Battle Harbour

  • Corporate body
  • 1832, 1904, 1941

Battle Harbour, formerly a permanent settlement, is a summer fishing settlement on the coast of southeastern Labrador. According to legend the Montagnais aided by the French fought their last battle here against the Inuit, circa 1960. It is not known when Battle Harbour was first established as a European settlement but by 1785 a sealing station operated there and the community grew with emphasis on the seal and cod fishery. In 1850, Labrador mission headquarters was set up in Battle Harbour and a school constructed shortly after. In 1857, the church, St. James, was built and in 1893 a hospital, one of the first in Labrador, was built there. In 1918, the first co-operative, established by Dr. Wilfred Grenfell, challenged the merchants' previous monopoly and aided the settlement's heavily indebted fishermen. In the fall of 1930, Battle Harbour was destroyed by fire and a new school, hospital and outbuildings were rebuilt at Mary's Harbour, 11km away from Battle Harbour, on the mainland. The relocation of these services as well as the decline in salmon and cod fisheries led to the resettlement of Battle Harbour in other areas under the Fisheries Household Resettlement Program, circa 1966. In 1980 Battle Harbour was the site of a year round government weather station. In the 1990's Battle Harbour was declared an historic site and underwent a restoration program to preserve the history of the area.

Bay St. George Parish

  • Corporate body
  • 1957-

The Bay St. George Parish is a parish of the Anglican Church of Canada in the Diocese of Western Newfoundland.
Churches include:
St. Mary Magdalene (Jeffrey's)
St. George (Robinson's)
St. Michael and All Angels (St. David's)
St. Mary the Virgin (St. George's)
Holy Trinity (Barachois Brook) (? - 1976)
Stephenville (1964 - 197?)
Stephenvile Crossing (1964 - 199?)

Bay St. George Parish Anglican Church of Canada

  • Corporate body
  • 1951-1965

Bay St. George Parish
General/Correspondence/Property and Plans.
St. George's, St. Mary the Virgin
Jeffrey's, St. Mary Magdalene (1986-1988)
Robinsons, St. George (1963-1989)
St. David's, St. Michael and All Angels (1979-1989)
Sandy Point [Heritage Village] (1966-1977)

Benevolent Irish Society (St. John's, N.L.)

  • Corporate body
  • 1816-

The Benevolent Irish Society (BIS), one of the oldest charitable and social organizations in Newfoundland, was established on 5 February 1816 in St. John's to assist the poor and distressed in the town. It was founded by prominent Irish residents to aid orphans, neglected children, the sick, the old and disabled on a nondenominational basis, although membership in the society was restricted to those of Irish descent. Officially nondenominational (its first three presidents were Irish Protestants), in practice the BIS became essentially an agency of Roman Catholic charity and education. The BIS also served as a catalyst for the St. John's Irish community. Funds were raised through donations and membership fees. The BIS seal featured a figure of St. Patrick and the motto "He who gives to the poor lends to the Lord."

The BIS took a special interest in the many orphaned children in St. John's, and, in 1827, established the Orphan Asylum School (OAS) which, despite its name, actually functioned for the education of poor children generally. Although intended to be nondenominational, the OAS was attended only by Roman Catholics. When the Presentation Sisters arrived in St. John's from Ireland in 1833, girls were moved to their school and the OAS devoted its efforts to educating boys. In 1847 the OAS was taken over by the Order of St. Francis and, in 1876, by the Irish Christian Brothers.

In 1826/7 the BIS constructed a small two-storey building located on what is now Queens Road overlooking St. John's Harbour. The OAS was housed on the ground floor and a banquet and meeting hall on the second floor. This building was enlarged in the 1840s to meet increasing school enrollment and to accommodate BIS social functions, as well as to provide space for the distribution of charity. In the late 1870s, the BIS constructed St. Patrick's Hall on the same site; it was considerably larger than its predecessor and made of stone masonry in the Second Empire Style. The BIS building was opened in August 1880 but destroyed in the Great Fire of 1892.

St. Patrick's Hall was rebuilt and reopened in 1893-94. By this time the cost of the school absorbed all the society's charity efforts, but members also used the hall regularly for social purposes. The BIS building housed reading and games rooms, and a theatre for live performances. A new wing, the O'Donel Memorial Hall, was added in 1905-6, extending space for the three main activities of the BIS: the school, the theatre, and social functions. In 1906-7 the theatre of the BIS was renovated and became a moving picture venue, the Nickel Theatre (1907-60).

The OAS accommodated students until 1985. By 1944 the boys were relocated to St. Patrick's Hall School and the space was used to house an overflow of girls from Presentation School. Until recently, the BIS also sponsored regular bingo games to raise funds for charity and education.

Faced with a declining membership and soaring cost of maintenance, the BIS was compelled to sell St. Patrick's Hall recently and the building was converted into residential condominiums. The BIS relocated to a modern building on Harvey Road. The society supports education by awarding scholarships, functions as a social club, and maintains Irish culture and traditions.

Board of Examiners

  • Corporate body
  • [19-]

The Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Health annually appoints a six-person Board of Examiners from a panel of names submitted by the Council of the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland. The majority of the Board are registered nurses. The Board arranges the registration examinations twice a year, appoints the deputy examiners, submits the results to the schools of nursing, and publicly announces the names of successful candidates.

Board of Trusts of the Newfoundland and Labrador Conference of the United Church of Canada

  • Corporate body
  • [19-]

The Board of Trusts of the Newfoundland and Labrador Conference of the United Church of Canada is the agent to receive and administer trusts for the Conference. It allocates the income from these trusts according to the terms of the bequests and donations made to Conference and is empowered to make reasonable investment decisions at will.

Responsibility for trusts and investments was transferred to the United Church of Canada Conference Board of Trusts from the Methodist Board of Trusts at the time of Church Union.

Bonavista Presbytery of the United Church of Canada

  • Corporate body
  • 1925-1962

Responsibility for the area covered by the Bonavista District of the Methodist Church of Canada was transferred to the Bonavista Presbytery of the United Church of Canada in 1925. It included Grand Falls Presbytery from 1928-1929 and had also assimilated parts of Wesleyville Presbytery by that time. In 1962 Bonavista Presbytery was merged with Burin Presbytery to form Bonavista-Burin Presbytery.

Bonavista-Burin Presbytery of the United Church of Canada

  • Corporate body
  • 1962-1968

In 1962 Bonavista Presbytery was merged with Burin Presbytery to form Bonavista - Burin Presbytery. In 1968 the two areas were divided once more. The area once covered by Burin Presbytery was joined with St. John's and Carbonear Presbyteries to form the Avalon Presbytery, while the old Bonavista Presbytery was joined with Twillingate Presbytery and parts of Grand Falls Presbytery to form Terra Nova Presbytery.

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