Father Cyril Okabanama, S.M.M.M.

Father Cyril’s inspiration in becoming a priest emanates very simply from the love of God and humanity. As a young Nigerian child, Cyril was a mass server and member of the block Rosary (those that gather every evening to recite the Rosary). This incited Cyril in becoming a priest so that he could continue serving God and His people in a special way.

Father Cyril came to Canada on mission, with the agreement of his congregation and that of Monsignor Mulhall, bishop of Pembroke. Father Cyril deeply enjoys celebrating mass in Canada. He also finds great gratitude in hearing confession because this gives him the joy of helping people reconcile with their God, which he finds essential in our worship of God.

Father Cyril wishes to encourage his parishioners and the general public to keep loving God and their neighbours. He says, “those who put their trust in God are like mount Zion -  they cannot be shaken and they stand forever. No one should ever forget that to be near God is the greatest happiness.”

Deacon Tim Foster
Father Cyril Okabanama, S.M.M.M.

Father Cyril’s inspiration in becoming a priest emanates very simply from the love of God and humanity. As a young Nigerian child, Cyril was a mass server and member of the block Rosary (those that gather every evening to recite the Rosary). This incited Cyril in becoming a priest so that he could continue serving God and His people in a special way.

Father Cyril came to Canada on mission, with the agreement of his congregation and that of Monsignor Mulhall, bishop of Pembroke. Father Cyril deeply enjoys celebrating mass in Canada. He also finds great gratitude in hearing confession because this gives him the joy of helping people reconcile with their God, which he finds essential in our worship of God.

Father Cyril wishes to encourage his parishioners and the general public to keep loving God and their neighbours. He says, “those who put their trust in God are like mount Zion -  they cannot be shaken and they stand forever. No one should ever forget that to be near God is the greatest happiness.”

Deacon Tim Foster

Deacon Tim Foster is originally from Cochrane, Ontario. He settled into Astorville, Ontario in 1986. Together with his wife, Suzanne, they have raised a beautiful family of four children, and now have three grandchildren. Tim worked as an Ontario Provincial Police officer for most of his working career. He is also an avid sportsman, having been involved in hockey as an OHL referee for a number of years and now regularly trains for half-marathon running. Tim used to spend much more of his time at the hockey rink, but now says that the church is his new devotion. He sincerely enjoys contributing to the parish and seeing the members of our community grow in their Catholic faith.

OUR HISTORY
Sainte Bernadette
  • In 1881, Ste-Philomene’s Chapel was first erected on the shore of Lake Talon. The contract was
    awarded to Mr. Ulric Harnois. On April 4, 1886, during his visit, Monsignor Lorrain decided the new location of Ste-Philomene’s parish would be at the foot of Lake Nosbonsing, in the farming
    settlement of Bonfield. A church was built at the cost of $3,233.00. The first resident priest was
    Reverend Father Thomas-Georges Gagnon, 28 years of age.

  • In 1905, the church was destroyed by fire. A new church was rebuilt on Gagnon Street a year later
    and was renamed Ste Bernadette.

  • In 2002, the church was in need of significant renovations. These were made possible by
    fundraising efforts and community support, to maintain the architectural beauty of the Lord’s house.

  • In 2006, Ste Bernadette celebrated its 100th anniversary, a significant milestone in its history. By
    His grace and mercy, the parish has been sustained over the past one hundred years as a
    community of faith and discipleship, centred upon the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist. This
    event was commemorated by Monsignor Richard W. Smith, then Bishop of Pembroke.

  • Today, Ste Bernadette is a meeting place to celebrate faith, a place of sanctuary and refuge for the Bonfield parishioners. Ste Bernadette is known for its annual picnic, serving its traditional meat“seapie”, prepared in cast iron pots and cooked for hours in outdoor stone ovens. This event is well appreciated and very popular among locals and tourists alike.

Saint Thomas d'Aquin
  • In April 1886, Monsignor Narcisse Zephirin Lorrain, bishop of Pontiac, granted permission to the
    settlers of the head of Lake Nosbonsing to construct a small chapel on Lot 19 Concession 2 in East
    Ferris.  A lot of one-half acre was donated by Joseph Alphonse Levesque for this purpose.  A small
    chapel was built near the shores of Lake Nosbonsing by Pierre Guillemette and a crew of
    labourers. Father Thomas-Georges Gagnon of Bonfield celebrated the first Mass in this chapel. In
    October of 1886, Joseph Guillemette and Armanda Robert, were the first to be wed in the chapel.
    In the Spring of 1887, Monsignor Lorrain named the new parish, “St Thomas d’Aquin".

  • By 1902, the parish had grown in numbers and required larger premises. Father Antonin Astor oversaw the construction of a new church, where he was priest from 1902 to 1916. It is from Father Astor that the village « Astorville » has been named.  In 1904, the church burnt to the ground. With much determination, the people of Astorville immediately banded together to rebuild the church. In 1966, the church structure was demolished and made way for the construction by Andre Rochefort of a new and what is known as the current house of God of today.

  • Since its foundation in 1902, St Thomas d’Aquin Parish continues to be a location of worship for
    our Lord, a gathering area for parishioners and the location of many marriages, baptisms, funerals
    and other sacraments for the people of Astorville and its surrounding area.

Sacred Heart
  • A chapel was erected in the village Corbeil under the leadership of Father Thomas George Gagnon of Bonfield. This chapel was dedicated to the Sacred Heart and blessed by Bishop Lorrain in 1893. At first, the village of Corbeil was a church mission of Bonfield and subsequently in 1902, it became a mission of Astorville. During Father Sloan’s regime in 1916-1920, the basement of the church was constructed. Further construction was delayed due to the influenza epidemic of that time. In August 1920, Corbeil became a parish. Reverend Daniel J. Breen was the first pastor and work begun on a parish rectory and a two-classroom school. Father Breen also had a mission station in Feronia and served several stations and lumber camps along the Ontario Northland Railway.

  • In 1930, Mr. and Mrs. Oliva Dionne became the proud parents of the five quintuplets, who were
    baptized by Father McNally. Due to the birth of the Dionne quintuplets, the area of Corbeil and
    Callander became a centre for news and publicity for years to come.

  • In 1941, Reverend W.H. Lafrance set to work to direct the completion of the Sacred Heart Church.
    In 1950, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart became the teaching staff of the four-classroom school at
    the time. The old rectory became a convent and a new presbytery arose on the north side of the church. On June 1, 1977, a heavy cross fell on the parish when lightning struck and caused the church to burn to the ground. The long and arduous task of organizing committees for building a new church and planning fundraising, took place.

  • Father Adrien Koens, along with a group of dedicated parishioners, oversaw the rebuilding of the
    now existing church. The construction was completed in 1980. The church, built to conserve
    energy, has windows on the roof facing west to let in plenty of sunlight. The wide seating area and wide sanctuary can allow up to 270 people to sit close to the altar. Much like in its beginnings, today the Sacred Heart church in Corbeil is a location of spirituality to practice one’s Christian faith in the northern part of the Municipality of East Ferris.

 

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ABOUT US

ABC parishes represents the Catholic churches of Astorville, Bonfield and Corbeil in the East Nipissing area of Northeastern Ontario. We are a strong Christian community, providing a place of faith, worship and support for friends and family in our region. Everyone is welcome!

ADDRESSES

Saint Thomas d’Aquin Church     
P.O. Box 130, 1389 Village Road    
Astorville, Ontario P0H 1B0
T - 705-752-1775
French mass - Sundays, 10:30 a.m.

 

Saint Bernadette Church            

P.O. Box 70

Bonfield, Ontario P0H 1E0

T – 705-776-2244
Bilingual Mass - Sundays, 9 a.m.

Sacred Heart Church                 
1994 Corbeil Road

Corbeil, Ontario P0H 1K0

T – 705-752-1449
Bilingual mass – Saturdays 4:30 p.m.

Bilingual mass – Saturday 4:30 p.m.

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