Catholic Church of Montreal > Publications > Info Archives > JUNE - 175th anniversary of the Saint-Raphaël-Archange de l’Île Bizard

JUNE - 175th anniversary of the Saint-Raphaël-Archange de l’Île Bizard


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Originally named Saint-Bonaventure, Île Bizard was given as a fief to sieur Bizard, major of Montreal on October 25, 1678. The origin of its name can therefore be traced back to its first owner. On maps of the period, Île Bizard was also referred to as Major Island.

As early as 1836, the inhabitants of the island sent to Bishop Joseph Signay, Bishop of Quebec, a petition requesting the erection of a new parish, Sainte-Geneviève being too far. The establishment of the diocese of Montreal a few months later somewhat delayed the canonical erection of the parish which was finally signed by the first bishop of Montreal, Bishop Jean-Jacques Lartigue on June 10, 1839. It is the anniversary of this event that we celebrate this year. On November 28, the inhabitants of the island asked their Bishop permission to build a church and a rectory for their new parish. The names written by the notary on the document that we make public today are generally accompanied by marks made by the inhabitants themselves. On January 27, 1840, writing on the same document, Bishop Lartigue delegated the parish priest of Saint-Laurent in response to this query asking that he visits the island. Less than three months after signing this document, Bishop Lartigue succumbed to his illness at the Hôtel-Dieu hospital.

Following the visit of Saint-Laurent’s pastor, Alexis Berthelot and Jacques Brunet donated lands to the new parish and construction could begin. The blessing of the church of Saint-Raphaël-Archange took place on December 16, 1843. It was made by the parish priest of Sainte-Geneviève, which also served Île Bizard. Mr. Brais, pastor of Sainte-Anne parish, sang the first mass. In 1872, a fire destroyed the first church leaving only the walls standing. The current church, larger than the previous one and composed of two steeples, was then built. The place of worship, which is still used today, was blessed on December 10, 1874 and consecrated by Bishop Fabre on October 11, 1881.

On the agenda:

On September 21, Bishop Christian Lépine, Archbishop of Montreal, will celebrate at Saint-Raphaël-Archange a special mass to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the parish.


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