January 15, 2006
This year of 2006 brings to mind some evocative memories for we Creightonites. On January 20, it will have been 30 years since Father J. Emmett Regan died of cancer. Difficult to believe isn't it? I well remember his body lying in state in St. Michael's Church and the out pouring of love and grief for this wonderful man who had been born in Creighton and returned to serve his community as Parish Priest for nearly 40 years. It was not only the Catholic community who mourned Father Regan. Everyone in town knew and loved him! His "boys" who had been altar boys and gone on to become priests, were there to honor him. He was immensely proud of all of them! It's quite a tribute to his influence that four young men from this little town followed in his footsteps. Father Sharpe is currently living at Christ the King Rectory in Sudbury, Father Jim Hutton is the Pastor at St. Patrick's in Sudbury, Father Bob Bourgon is Pastor in Levac, and I believe that Father Bill Fortune is in the North Bay area. Father Regan, along with Roy Gotro, was instrumental in starting the Creighton Mine Credit Union which still exists but under a new name and is now called "Community and Savings Credit Union". He was a priest in the true sense of the word in that he made a point of personally visiting his parishioners in their homes at least twice a year and oftener if he was in your area of town. His wide Irish smile and great sense of humor were always welcome!
Another anniversary this year has a direct connection to Father Regan. It was in September of 1986 that St. Michael's Church was officially and irrevocably closed forever, thus 20 years ago this year. The Closing Ceremonies occurred over an entire weekend with events beginning on Friday evening and concluding Sunday afternoon. I was a member of the choir which sang at all of those ceremonies and it was a bittersweet experience for me. The sight of the dignified Knights of Columbus in their ceremonial regalia lining the steps and guarding the altar will always remain in my mind and in my heart. When the final prayers and ceremonies had been completed, it was time to remove meaningful and blessed objects form the church. The statues were carried down the church steps and laboriously loaded onto half ton trucks which carried them to their new location at St. Pius In Lively. It was a most impressive procession carried out with reverence and sadness. Afterwards there was a homecoming reception held in Cabrini Hall where we all had a chance to visit and renew acquaintances with those who had come from far away. We all realized that we were saying goodbye to an essential part of our lives.
My daughters were baptized in that church by Father Regan. My brother Willy was buried from that church in 1960 after his funeral Mass celebrated by Father Regan. My brother Frank received his First Holy Communion at St. Michael's. As a teenager I was a member of the church choir under the direction of Mrs. Della Drennan. Our Wedding Reception was held in Cabrini Hall. So many personal memories! Copious tears were shed by current and previous parishioners. People came from all over the country to participate in the ceremonies closing their church!
I heard years later that the pews from St. Michael's are now being used in St. Joseph the Workman Church in the Soo.