Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish / John F. Farrell
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish
Father Lawrence Kilroy established Catholic churches throughout St. Clair County during the early nineteenth century. In Kenockee he founded a cemetery and the 'log church,' the precursor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, in 1853. The church served a mostly Irish parish. In 1876 Irishmen formed the St. Patrick's Benevolent Society, which raised money to help the needy. Members could be fined for dueling, for mentioning politics during a meeting, and for missing the St. Patrick's Day parade. In 1897 the parish built a monumental Neo-Gothic church in Emmett. That church burned in 1966 and was replaced with the present structure, which typified church architecture of the era when it was completed in 1970.
John F. Farrell
Father John F. Farrell (1885 ~ 1971) served Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish from 1923 to 1966. When he arrived in Emmett, the parish consisted of the church, the rectory, and a stable. The following year Farrell established Our Lady of Mount Carmel School. Soon after, he had a convent built for the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe who taught at the school until 1971. In 1974 the school became part of the Yale School District and was renamed John F. Farrell Elementary School. Father Farrell died in 1971 and was buried in the parish cemetery in Kenockee on the site of the original log church. Using funds from Farrell's estate, the Archdiocese of Detroit awards an annual scholarship in his name to Detroit priests for study in Rome, Italy.