Both a railway and a mining town, Capreol did not have a Parish until 1919, but the spiritual needs of its Roman Catholics were met by Fr. Bruno, a missionary priest who traveled in from Hanmer. He was followed by Fr. Fawcett. In 1919, Our Lady of Peace Parish was canonically established by Bishop David Joseph Scollard, and Fr. Fawcett continued on as its first Pastor. The name of the Parish was chosen in the shadow of the First World War and reflected the deep desire for peace and, in particular, the urging of our Blessed Mother to pray for peace.
In 1921, Fr. Williams (the 1st) was appointed Pastor and remained such until 1935 when he was succeeded by Fr. Mulligan. He served for 13 years and was succeeded by the longest serving Pastor of the Parish to date – Fr. O’Neill – who served the people of Capreol for 26 years, from 1948 until his death in 1974.
Fr. Frank Lawless was our next Pastor, and served until ill health forced his retirement in 1987. He was followed by Fr. Gerry Sullivan, who served until his retirement 11 years later, in 1998. Fr. Sullivan took up residence in the Rectory in 2011, where he remained until his death in the Fall of 2013.
In 1998, Capreol born Fr. Gerry Lalonde was named Pastor. He is a Basilian Priest who had retired from long years of service in education, and was pleased to serve in his home town for the next 8 years, until 2006, at which point he retired again and took up residence at the Basilian house in Toronto. He was succeeded for the next 2 years by Fr. Brendan Doherty, a Priest from the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, and then by Fr. Pat Woods who was appointed Pastor in 2008.
It was Fr. Woods who was responsible for the ‘amalgamation’ of Our Lady of Peace Parish with St. Kevin Parish in Valley East and, in 2011, Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe canonically suppressed Our Lady of Peace Parish and extended the Parish boundaries of St. Kevin Parish to encompass all of Capreol.
Fr. Michael Williams (the 2nd) was appointed Pastor of this amalgamated Parish on September 1, 2011. He served the people of Capreol and Valley East for six years, until July 1, 2017, when Fr. Jackson Arul was named Pastor.
It is a remarkable 94 year history we celebrate. With only 10 Pastors, Our Lady of Peace Parish has enjoyed the stability of long serving Priests, who have guided the community through the tumultuous decades of the previous century. Despite the terrible scourge of violence which marked that century, the Parish still stands as a witness to the peace for which all human hearts long and for which we still pray.