do you remember

Dec 4, 2011

As the Christmas holiday time approaches, what better topic than that of religion and its leaders in old time Gander…

We start this topic with the question raised here by one of our school teachers, Mr. Clarence Dewling:

 “Gander... at the time of the move to the town site, before and after, was blessed by having two long serving priests. There was the Anglican Fr. John Moss and the Roman Catholic Fr. McCarthy. Common interests, perhaps, made them fast friends - even if some members of their congregations would not have had it that way. They met often for a chat and a drop of toddy.

 “What is the story of the time that Father Mac left his hat at the Anglican Rectory?”
         Clarence Dewling, GA Teacher 1957 era

 “Yes, I have lots of info re. the history of Gander and St. Martins church, now a cathedral. One of the nicest pictures of my father hangs in the Church Hall, next to the church. I have no picture of Father Mac, as he was affectionately known, but I can see him clearly in my minds eye. Both he and my father were military chaplains during WWII and this continued with the Armed Services posted in Gander, even long after the wartime, into the fifties. We greeted many Bishops and Archbishops as they passed through the Crossroads of the World, also.

 “Maybe I can send more, later.”
         Doris Moss Cowley
         MHA Class of 1956


 “Don’t know much about the hat but will ask Dad

“I have great memories of Father Mac, as we knew him.  He was always around at school and church and involved in our lives, a very positive influence. He arranged games, and other events for the young crowd. He also had family in Gander The MacCarthys,  Gerard, etc  and the Pearceys  Don, etc .

“I recall driving Fr. Mac to Boston in the early 70’s so he could do a semester of improving his skills in counseling. He had a brother close by in Connecticut, Bristol I think.  I then went to the Big Apple to visit relatives,  that was an eye opener .

“I also recall Fr. Moss favourably

“As Fr. Mac was graying when we knew him, all the young kids really liked when we had 2 younger priests, Fr Cormack who unfortunately died young,  a confusing life lesson for us  at the time and in our last year of high school we had Fr. Ed Brophy  a Townie. He got us into rowing at the Regatta in Gander. I met Ed’s brother, Bill, in MUN and also see Ed from time to time in his various parishes. He is a great lover of the outdoors”

That’s about it for now
         Thomas Philpot,
         SP Class of 1967


“One of my favourite stories re religious leaders occurred in 1946, a couple of years before we moved to Gander.

“The book, History of Gander, Newfoundland (50 years plus, 1936 - 1988), tells the story.  In 1946 the Sabena DC-4 (of the Belgian Airlines) crashed about 22 miles south-west of Gander.  26 out of the 44 people on board were killed.  The 26 victims were buried on the site, named as St. Martin's-in-the-Woods, because it was too risky to transport the bodies to Gander.  Respect was shown by having an aerial funeral service.  The funeral service was attended by Father P. J. McCarthy (Roman Catholic Church, Gander), the Rev. Leonard Woolfrey (United Church, Gander) and a Rabbi from New York.  They held a funeral service while circling the crash site on board a USAF DC-3. (p. 94, 95 History of Gander).

I am touched and heartened by this story because we think of multi-faith services as novel to our time.  Yet in 1946, a multi-faith service was held in progressive Gander.
         Marion Pardy,
         GA Class of 1958

Thanks folks and remember ‘tis the Christmas season and what we were taught that it was all about…never  to forget.  We welcome more stories and photos on this and any other topics that may be of interest to you.

Send to me,

And don’t forget to watch for our next holiday kitchen party with music and recipes and FUN.  Stay tuned.



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