Our Lady of The Most Blessed Sacrament, Wheatley
There were two parishes to serve the community of Wheatley … St. Michael’s in Leamington which was built in 1922 and St. Charles in Stevenson which was built in 1934.
In May 1956, Bishop J.C. Cody, D.D. of the Diocese of London, Ontario, authorized the building of the Church in Wheatley.
Fr. Louis J. Phelan, Pastor of St. Michael’s in Leamington, obtained property and a deed for the new Church to be built. The cost of this building was approximately $37,000.00 St. Michael’s donated $5,000.00 towards the construction of the new Church which would be named… Our Lady of The Blessed Sacrament.
On July 4, 1956, Fr. E. Ambrose O’Donnell, the Dean of Kent County, turned the sod. Construction began promptly and in November 1956, the Most Rev. J.C. Cody R.C. Bishop of London conducted the dedication services for the new Our Lady of The Blessed Sacrament Church in Wheatley. The Mass was celebrated by Rev. L. J. Phelan, Pastor of St. Michael’s Leamington.
In July 1957, Fr. Earl D. Pare became the new Pastor of St. Charles Parish in Stevenson and Our Lady of The Blessed Sacrament in Wheatley.
In 1962, Fr. Pare was transferred and Fr. Ignatius Lenckowski was appointed the first resident Pastor of the Wheatley Church. He added the rectory to the Church.
Fr. Robert A. Van Vynck replaced Fr. Lenchowski in 1967.
In 1970, Fr. Charles V. McNabb became Pastor of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and served until his retirement in 1975. At this time Bishop G. E. Carter appointed Fr. Stanley A. Nouvion to serve the 150 families of the Parish.
From 1976-1977, Fr. Henri Kea served the Portuguese Community and in 1979, Fr. Sylvio Gasparotto replaced Fr. Kea. Father John Mendonca served as Pastor.
Fr. Ugo Rossi was appointed Pastor of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and continued to serve until his retirement in June 2002. At this time, the clustering of St. Michael’s, St. Joseph’s, and Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament occurred.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish was canonically suppressed on December 31, 2006 and its boundaries were incorporated into St. Michael’s Parish, the sacramental records being removed to St. Michael’s Parish Office. The church is a second place of worship for anyone in the whole parish, and for campers and cottagers who come to Wheatley in season. The rectory is rented to a Catholic family.
As we faced the challenges of clustering St. Michael’s and Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, we are grateful that we can maintain a church for Sunday worship in Wheatley, and we remember well the words spoken by Bishop Sherlock…
We wish to deepen our life of prayer…
Understand what it means to be a parish… To accept our duty of work for social justice…
To strengthen family life… To encourage our youth… To stimulate vocations…
To celebrate the Love of God which the Spirit has poured into our hearts.
Adding to this, the leadership of Bishop Fabbro is now challenging us to become more missionary and less maintenance-driven, as we embrace the challenge to collaborate with our neighbouring parishes in bringing the Good News to everyone in our homes and throughout our communities. We hope our memories will be an incentive for future generation of Catholics to continue to deepen our relationships with Jesus our Lord, especially as we open a Jubilee Year of Mercy on December 9, 2015.