Irish Catholic emigration to Quebec City became significant after 1800. Their numbers grew and in time they gathered to worship together as a group. The first St. Patrick’s Day Mass was held in 1819 at the Chapel of the Congregationists on d’Auteuil Street. This chapel served the Irish for 3 years. Subsequently from 1822-1828 the Irish were assigned an hour to worship at the Notre Dame de Quebec Basilica. From 1828-1833 the Irish worshipped at Notre Dame des Victoires Church.
The Committee of the congregation and Father Patrick McMahon led a successful effort to erect a church building. Land was purchased and Thomas Baillargé, a prominent French-Canadian architect, designed St Patrick’s Church. The ground was broken in 1831 to construct the first Church on Ste. Hélène Street, later renamed McMahon Street. The Cholera epidemic of 1832 suspended construction. The first Mass was celebrated in July 1833.
Mass was celebrated for the last time in the McMahon Street church on May 28, 1967. The building was later destroyed by fire in 1970. While nothing of the interior remains, the facade has been preserved and incorporated into the Cancer Research Centre of the Hotel-Dieu Hospital complex. The church bells were returned to the belfry in 2006.
In 1855 a law was adopted by the Parliament of Canada to create the Congregation of Catholics of Quebec speaking the English language. The law took effect in 1856 and the congregation kept its own registers of baptisms, marriages and sepulchres. Previously all acts were registered at Notre Dame de Quebec. In 1889 the congregation received full canonical status as a parish.
In 1915, a new St. Patrick’s Church was opened on Grande Allée to meet the needs of the growing community. The building would be in service until a fire in 1956 during the construction of a larger church above it. The new church opened on March 17, 1958.
The current St. Patrick’s Church on De Salaberry Avenue, a comparatively smaller building, reflects the diminished size of the English-speaking Catholic population. It was built in 1988 following the demolition of the Grande Allée Church. The interior of this church has many of the furnishings, windows and artifacts of the previous two churches. Among these are the marble altar, the pews, the restored Casavant organ of 1915 and the Baptismal font. The elaborately framed picture of Our Mother of Perpetual Help and the statue of St. Alphonsus Ligouri over the portico are evidence of the administration of the parish by the Redemptorist Order between 1874 and 1999.