The St. Michael's Irish Block cemetery project committee has announced that they have reached their goal to raise $35,000 in order to build a new iron fence around the cemetery. The committee launched the fundraising project in March of this year, and they are appreciative of the support that they have received.
“Fundraising efforts have been underway since early spring and we are happy to report that we have reached our $35,000 fundraising goal to build an iron fence. We are very pleased and grateful for the enthusiastic support received,” said the committee this week.
While they have reached their fundraising goal, the committee said that contributions are still being accepted, and additional funds raised will be put to good use.
“For those who would like to still contribute to the St. Michael’s Cemetery Project, the additional funds raised will be set aside in a Restoration and Preservation fund for St. Michael’s Cemetery,” said the committee.
St. Michael's Cemetery is tucked away on the quiet and tranquil Irish Block Road in Annan, surrounded by bucolic views of rural farm fields. It's a small cemetery with some rich local history, and those wandering the well-kept grounds will find many headstones that date back to the earliest settlers of the area.
“St. Michael’s Cemetery is a treasured place that needs to be protected, cared for, and preserved,” noted the committee. “In the last few years the old fence has fallen down and this has resulted in some vandalism at the grotto and sacred grounds leaving the area vulnerable and unprotected. There is an enthusiastic community spirit to build a proper fence to protect the legacy of the original ancestors and those who have chosen the cemetery as their final resting place.”
A sub-committee of the cemetery project will be capturing the local history in a special limited edition book, and the committee is continuing to gather stories and photographs for the project.
The committee noted in the spring that when the project was first announced, in 1937 the Irish Block congregation published a history booklet that covered the period of 1847 through 1937. The committee is now planning to compile a new history book covering the years from 1937 through to the present. They hope that local residents can help out by submitting stories and photos related to the church's activities in those years.
“We would be happy to receive information and pictures about family members that came from the Irish Block as well as any special stories to share,” said the committee. “Deadline for submissions is December 15, 2017. We are now accepting reservations for the book until December 31, 2017 for $25 per book. Limited copies will be printed - reserve your copy so you don’t miss out on this opportunity to receive this important keepsake of the history of the Irish Block.”
Organizers said that Bishop D. Crosby of the Hamilton Diocese has been invited to celebrate Mass at the historic St. Michael’s Irish Block site on Saturday, August 4, 2018. This special mass will be followed by a reception.
A Facebook page entitled “The Irish Block near Owen Sound Ontario – family history sharing” has been established to help promote the St. Michael’s Cemetery Project. The committee said that to date there have been more than 100 families that have shared information about the Irish Block, and many are planning family reunions and looking forward to reacquaint with long-lost friends and relatives at the 170th anniversary celebration on August 4, 2018.
For more information on how you can contribute, participate with the project, or pre-order the history book please contact Mike Traynor, Chair, St. Michael’s Cemetery Project Committee at 519-376-8791 or firstname.lastname@example.org.