“Annual demonstration of faith”

“Annual demonstration of faith” – (PIP #25)

By Louise Peloquin

      For 71 years, L’Etoile shone out of Lowell’s Little Canada to offer its readership local, regional, and international coverage of a wide variety of news items. Deemed just as newsworthy as scoops from abroad, community events were regularly featured. The newspaper team knew how much readers delighted in narratives on neighborhood personalites.

Charles Gargiulo’s exhilarating, Legends of Little Canada, brings back to life a world gone by where local figures fashioned young lives. His book also gives us a peek into the status of Saint Jean-Baptiste church in the neighborhood. (1)

For the French-Canadian community, the church was not only a place of worship and religious ceremonies but it was also an institution of education for all ages, from the parish school to adult, life-coach-style counseling, mirroring its all-pervasive role in “the old country” – Québec. The church was also a venue for social gatherings from charitable organization meetings to musical and theatrical performances to kermesses and bingo tournaments.

Consequently, it was vital for L’Etoile to cover church events. In addition, as a service to the community, the newspaper gratuitously published many Franco-American parish bulletins. Naturally, this move met potential readers’ expectations, making the effort a win-win for both the paper and its public.

The celebration of Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, falls on March 31st this year. Here is an 80-year-old excerpt covering another “annual demonstration of faith.”

L’Etoile – January 4, 1944

The Name of Jesus is the only name to which humankind should attach itself for salvation

Such was the message from Father Breault, o.m.i., to the city’s Franco-American leaguers during Sunday’s celebration of the Holy Name at Saint Jeanne D’Arc.

     Jesus Christ is the Divine Son of the Most High who has given Him a Name above all names. That is what Reverend Father Alphonse Breault, o.m.i, missionary of the Hudson, N.H. Oblate Mission, demonstrated, with Gospel texts, at the annual demonstration of faith of the Franco-American leaguers of the Sacred Heart on the feast of the Holy Name on Sunday afternoon at Saint Jeanne D’Arc church.

     About 1000 leaguers from the city’s various Franco-American parishes met for this solemn and imposing ceremony and filled the whole nave of the vast church.

     In the sanctuary were Reverend Fathers Louis-G. Bouchard, o.m.i., Joseph Denis, o.m.i., Lucien Brassard, om.i. (2), Narcisse Contour, o.m.i., Albert Beausoleil, o.m.i., Lionel Labrie, o.m.i., Victor Alexandre, o.m.i., Paul Marceau, o.m.i., Donat Morissette, o.m.i., Pastor Arthur O. Mercier and Abbots Émile Herault and René James….(3) 


  1. The book review link: https://richardhowe.com/2023/09/28/legends-of-little-canada-book-review/
  2. Father Lucien Brassard was named director of Saint Joseph Cemetery, 96 Riverneck Road Chelmsford in 1928. For 41 years, he spearheaded its development and modernization. Saint Joseph Cemetery was founded in 1894 by France-born Father André-Marie Garin, a familiar figure to Lowellians who can view his statue situated on the right of former Saint Jean-Baptiste church. For an overview of the cemetery’s history, consult the link:  


3. Translation by Louise Peloquin.

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