351 Willibrord Avenue, Verdun, Québec H4G 2T7 - Tel: (514) 769-9678 - Fax: (514) 761-1717

A young altar server, one of about thirty who were active at that time, recalls how the curates picked up the slack when Father Stanford was ill and how so many from the pews came forward to help as the community pitched in to keep parish activities operating as always.

Following the loss of Father Stanford, the fifth St. Willibrord’s Pastor sent by the Lord was the gifted, intellectual and deeply spiritual Father William Byrd. His ten years at St. Willibrord’s were a challenge as the constant westward population movement began to diminish the Parish’s numbers. Once again, the faith of the people shone through as the lay people of the parish, almost in anticipation of the days to come, pulled together to make up for the reduction in the number of the curates.

The Parish, though, maintained its vigor and again the community adjusted to the ever-changing demographics. When Father Byrd retired in 1963 due to ill health, Father George Thoms, ending a lengthy tenure at St. Gabriel’s was appointed our Parish’s sixth pastor.

Father Thoms was the first and, to date, the only Pastor of St. Willibrord’s to have been born and schooled in the Parish. Father Thoms’ decade of service was a demanding one, both for him as he battled health problems, and for the people, as many changes were being brought about by the reforms of Vatican II. Many in the community were disquieted by a church in transition. Still, that spirit took over and they soon set about to take on the challenges of greater responsibilities now given to the laity as a result of Vatican II. This responsibility took on a new dimension as Father Thoms’ health worsened, forcing him to retire. Once again, the inherent spirit of St. Willibrord’s rose up as the laity filled in until the seventh Pastor could be appointed.

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CND Sisters circa 1961