The first St. Andrew’s church was opened in Brechin on January 6, 1869 as a mission church to the “Mara Church”, now St. Columbkille’s. In 1884, St. Andrew’s was designated as a parish with Fr. Michael Davis as the first resident priest. Fr. Davis oversaw the construction of the rectory and the first school. James Foley donated the money and the land to build a one room school house.
The original church served until 1925 when ground was broken for construction of the “new” present day St. Andrew’s under the supervision of Fr. Kenneth Morrow. The community worked together hauling limestone, fieldstone, gravel and lumber from nearby farms by horse and wagon and horse and sleigh, digging and building until our beautiful church was complete in December of 1925.
St. Andrew’s has been served by many different priests who cared for and nourished the spiritual needs of the people. They brought with them their strong faith and knowledge of the gospel. They have celebrated baptisms, first communion, reconciliation, and marriages with their parishioners and supported them also in their grief, performing funerals.
Many Parish Societies have served the St. Andrew’s faith community over the years. Each one served to care for the physical needs of the church, (Holy Name Society (men working to repair and upkeep of the church, hall and cemetery), the Altar Society (caring for the altar, vestments and altar cloths), Christian Mothers and St. Rita’s Society and the Catholic Women’s League (fundraising and working to pay off the debt, as well as supporting important causes), and the spiritual needs (League of Sacred Heart, The Solidarity of the Blessed Virgin) of the parishioners.
In 1914, St. Andrew’s hall was constructed. The hall served the church and the community for almost 100 years. Over the years it has hosted fundraising activities including dances, concerts, plays, films, garden parties, bazaars, card parties, suppers, bake sales, bingos, and an indoor yard sale. Many community organizations have used it, including Lion’s and Fireman’s Clubs, the United Church, the school, the scouts, public health, polling centre for elections, and political rallies. Court was held in the hall for many years, and it served as a recruiting centre in World War I.
St. Andrew’s Church remains a viable part of the Brechin community today. It’s long history remains a historical icon to the community. The Catholic Women’s League continues to fundraise to help pay off the debt and to support important causes. Many of the men are part of the Knight’s of Columbus. The parish community as a whole continue to work and pray to support the needs of the Church, and the people in the community. Our parish priests continue to care for and nourish the spiritual needs of the people.