St. Kilian’s Catholic Church in Ardoch celebrated 125 years as a parish last Sunday with special guests, a special mass and luncheon. The current building celebrated 50 years.
Wayne Manion, chair of the cemetery board has been around for many of those years and shared some of his memories.
“I’ve known Father Murphy for a long time — I was at his ordination,” Manion said. “That’s why I was picking on him (during the service).
“In the city, they probably would have thrown him out of town but he fit right in here — always joking around.”
Manion said St. Kilian’s is a “mission parish” of the Flinton parish.
“This goes back to the days of horse and buggy,” he said. “Now it’s a short trip but in those days it would take at least half a day to make the trip so we had to have a place here in Ardoch where the priest could sleep.”
He said it was hard for him to put into words what the church has meant to the community and how things have changed.
“It helps keep the faith,” he said. “But it’s mostly older people now.
“When we were kids, Plevna was mostly Protestant and Ardoch was more Catholic. And now, the parish serves a much larger area, from Vennachar to Myer’s Cave and up to the Mazinaw.”
But, he said, there are some changes for the better, for one thing the way different faiths are coming together.
“When we were kids, Protestants were ‘evil’ and they thought Catholics were ‘evil,’” he said. “But now ecumenical services are becoming more popular.
“Churches are starting to emphasize the things they have in common.”
The church’s current pastor, Rev. Paul Njoku, had similar sentiments.
“We’re just the chief actors in the joy we’re celebrating,” he said. “I send my greetings to parishioners in all parts of the world.”
But he also had thoughts for the men and women who built the church and those who kept it going.
“The many founding mothers and fathers couldn’t be here to see this today,” he said. “May the Good Lord grant them eternal repose.”